Federal Court in Georgia Certifies FSLA Case So That More Potential Plaintiffs Can Opt In

Under federal law, there are certain rules and regulations that govern the manner in which employees are paid. While some workers are exempt from these provisions, most are included.

Those whose employers have acted in violation of these or other laws concerning fair payment of wages may be able to recover money damages through an Atlanta wage and hour lawsuit. Because there is a limited time for taking legal action in such a situation, it is important to speak to a lawyer promptly if you think you have a potential wage and hour law case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiffs were drivers and laborers employed by the defendant disposal services company. In a complaint filed in federal court, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had either underpaid them or had failed to pay them for overtime hours in violation of ยง 207 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The plaintiffs further alleged that the defendant’s practices also affected other similarly situated workers employed. According to the plaintiffs’ complaint, although their pay stubs purported to reflect both regular and overtime rates, the plaintiffs contended that these rates were intentionally manipulated by the defendant to make it appear that the plaintiffs were receiving overtime pay when, in fact, they were not.

The plaintiffs filed a motion seeking to bring a collective action on behalf of themselves and all other current and former drivers and laborers who had worked for the defendant within the three years preceding the plaintiffs’ complaint. The defendant did not contest that a putative class should be conditionally certified but had certain objections to the plaintiffs’ proposed conditional certification and the issuance of notice to eligible individuals.

Holding of the Case

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, granted the plaintiffs’ motion, thereby ordering the defendant to provide the plaintiffs with all of the necessary information so that other eligible potential plaintiffs could be notified about the litigation. In so holding, the court noted that, under a collective action brought under FLSA, the other potential plaintiffs would have the option of joining the plaintiffs’ action, if they so desired. The court contrasted this procedure with a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 class action, which allows potential plaintiffs to opt out of the suit once certification is granted. In other words, a FLSA plaintiff must take affirmative action in order to join an existing lawsuit, whereas class action plaintiffs in other types of cases are automatically included in the case unless they intentionally opt out of such litigation.

In deciding to grant certification to the plaintiffs, the court found that the plaintiffs had made a sufficient showing to meet their burden for conditional certification, observing that 15 opt-in plaintiffs had already joined the suit.

Speak to a Lawyer

If you believe that have not been paid for overtime in accordance with the requirements of FLSA, you should talk to an experienced Atlanta wage-and-hour attorney who can help you investigate and document your claim. Attorney John. L. Mays at the law firm of Parks, Chesin & Walbert handles these and other types of employment law cases. For an appointment, call 404-873-8048. Someone is always available to answer your call, so do not delay in seeking legal advice about your case.

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