Georgia Workers Enter Into Agreement with Employer to Settle Fair Labor Standards Act Case Claiming Unpaid Overtime

There was a lot of talk during the recent election cycle about the possibility of raising the minimum wage. Whether or not this will happen remains to be seen, but, in the meantime, there are a number of state and federal laws aimed at ensuring that workers are treated fairly when it comes to pay.

One such law requires that employees who put in more than 40 hours per week are entitled to be paid an overtime wage of one and a half times their regular pay. Not all workers qualify for overtime pay, but the vast majority do.

If you believe that you qualify for overtime pay, but your employer has not been paying you time and a half for your weekly hours over the 40-hour threshold, you should talk to an Atlanta wage and hour attorney. Be mindful that there are deadlines for filing claims for overtime pay, and claims not timely filed may be deemed waived.

Facts of the Case

In a recent federal case seeking relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), codified at 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq, the plaintiffs were current and former employees of the defendant septic tank service. (The original complaint was filed by a single employee as a collective action suit; after the defendant consented to class certification, the other plaintiffs opted into the suit.) According to the allegations of the plaintiffs’ complaint, the defendant failed to pay them at the required rate of one and a half times their regular hourly rate of pay for hours exceeding a standard 40-hour workweek as required by 29 U.S.C. § 207.

After the suit was filed, the parties entered into settlement negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement about their dispute. Once a purported settlement was reached, the parties sought judicial review and approval of their agreement.

The Court’s Order

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia granted the parties’ joint motion to approve their settlement agreement. As was required under the law, the court took several factors into account in deciding whether to approve the settlement. After reviewing the relevant factors, the court determined that the negotiation process and resulting settlement had been fair and reasonable to the plaintiffs, that the plaintiffs’ award for unpaid overtime compensation and liquidated damages was reasonable, and that the plaintiffs’ attorney would be adequately compensated for his services in the case via the agreement. In holding that the attorney fee set forth in the settlement should be approved, the court noted that it was just below the “lodestar” figure (which is calculated by multiplying the number of hours reasonably spent by an attorney in a case times a reasonable rate of compensation for the work done.) The court noted that the attorney’s representation of a total of five plaintiffs in the case warranted a slighter higher rate of pay than would have been due had there only been a single plaintiff.

If You Have Questions About Georgia Employment Law 

Workers deserve to be paid overtime when they put in long hours. If your employer is not complying with the law, you should seek the counsel of an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney. To schedule an appointment to discuss your situation with an attorney at the law firm of Parks, Chesin & Walbert in Atlanta, call us at 404-873-8048 or use this website to contact us. We will be happy to set up an appointment to learn more about your case and help you get started on seeking the relief to which you are entitled under Georgia state employment law and/or federal law.

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