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Articles Posted in Overtime

Tennessee employees as well as employees all across the country are entitled to receive overtime pay for any hours worked over forty in a single work week. A company or local office might get away with not paying overtime by making their employees perform work related tasks while they are off the clock. This is made even easier for companies to do because of technological advances such as the internet and using cell phones. However, even if tasks such as checking e-mail or using a cell phone are done after hours by employees, if the work is related to their job, then under the Fair Labor Standards Act, they may be entitled to receive overtime pay.

In this case, Police Department Sergeant Jeffrey Allen originally filed his suit, alleging overtime compensation violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act in 2010. On January 14, 2013, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier granted Allen’s conditional certification for a collective action under the FLSA. In his suit, Allen claims that the city violated the FLSA when it failed to compensate him, an hourly non-exempt employee, and a putative class of police officers for time spent reading and responding to emails via city-issued BlackBerries outside of normal working hours.

According to his claim, Allen’s proposed group of plaintiffs for the collective action included “All Police Department members . . . who worked ‘off the clock’ using Police Department issued PDA’s or other electronic communication devices without receiving compensation for each hour worked . . . .” Allen alleged that he and roughly 200 other officers in the Police Department’s Bureau of Organized Crime were required to use their police department issued devices to perform work outside of normal business hours and were then pressured into not reporting the overtime worked. The city responded by stating that it had in place procedures for reporting overtime and that the plaintiff failed to take advantage of them.

Allen claimed that, the bureau had an “unwritten” rule which held that officers who wanted a promotion were expected not to report overtime for hours spent responding to emails and calls while they were off-duty. Having obtained conditional certification, Allen now must notify other potential plaintiffs of the suit, who then have until April 8 to opt in. Following the April 8 deadline, the court will hold a status hearing and proceed with the case.

To determine that Allen had made a modest factual showing that he and other officers were subjected to an unwritten policy of not being paid for the off-duty use of their Blackberries, the court focused on the depositions of eight Chicago Police Department officers. These depositions, the court said, indicated that “Sergeants and Lieutenants in the Bureau of Organized Crime believed that they were expected to check and possibly respond to emails and calls made to their department-issued BlackBerries while they were off-duty without being compensated for these activities.”
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In Tennessee and all across the United States employees are entitled by law to receive overtime pay if they work more than forty hours in a single work week. Unfortunately, many companies and businesses find ways around this law or just fail to pay their employees overtime pay altogether. If you or someone you work with has worked overtime hours but not received your overtime pay, then you should speak to a Tennessee employment overtime pay lawyer right away. They will hear your case and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Reducing employees wages is one easiest ways for a corporation to increase its profits. However, this type of behavior is nothing more than stealing wages from hard working people that have earned the money by giving a fairs days work to their boss. However, one intersting thing about these case is they are not limited to factory workers or other standard types of employment. In fact, in a recently filed case a group of news paper reporters file a lawsuit claiming they are owed wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act for overtime work they provided.

This lawsuit claims that over the past four years reporters, who worked for local paper’s suburban edition, weren’t paid for their overtime hours, and ultimately the paper decided to settle and pay $660,000. The forty-six employees will split $425,000, while the rest will go to lawyers and Carolyn Rusin, the reporter who first brought the suit, according to the report.

According to the report about the settlement, the newspaper reported that Rusin and the other reporters were not exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act because their work, primarily covering local government and school board meetings, was determined to not involve “invention, imagination and talent”. Therefore, a person doing that job could not be considered a “creative professional” and so should have been paid 1.5 times her hourly wage for every hour over forty hours per week.

It is true that not every employee is entitled to overtime pay for working more than forty (40) hours per week. However, it is also true that the standards do apply to a majority of the workers in Tennessee and throughout the country. According to the Department of Labor the FLSA applies to over 130 million workers across the nation. This includes full time and part time workers in both the private and public sector. If the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does apply to you and you have been denied overtime pay you may be entitled to back pay, double damages and attorney’s fees. The act also protects you from being terminated for standing up for your rights under the FLSA. These protections are needed as even though the employee is asking nothing more than to be treated fairly under the law many unscrupulous employers will try to punish the employee. As such, before if you believe you are being denied overtime pay feel free to contact our office so we can discuss the best way to stand up for your rights and protect your employment.

If you or someone you work with has worked overtime hours but not received your overtime pay, then you should speak to a Tennessee employment overtime pay lawyer right away. They will hear your case and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
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In Tennessee and all across the United States employees are entitled by law to receive overtime pay if they work more than forty hours in a single work week. In a recently filed case, assistant branch managers for the Citizens Financial Group claim that they were misclassified under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and were denied overtime pay. The law requires that hourly workers must be paid overtime if they work more than forty hours a week, salaried workers are exempt. According to court reports, Citizens Financial has denied the basic claim of worker misclassification and contended that the plaintiffs’ situations are different enough that they shouldn’t be allowed to pursue the case as a group. It cited “widely disparate employment circumstances” among the plaintiffs, who have worked at hundreds of different Citizens Financial branches throughout the East Coast.

The workers’ case turns on the assistant bank managers’ job duties and whether they assumed managerial duties as the bank contends, or whether they consistently performed the uniform work of lower-level employees, such as opening customer bank accounts and handling customer service, which would mean they were entitled to overtime pay. If the case doesn’t settle and a jury determines that the workers acted as managers, they would be exempt from the FLSA and they would not be entitled to overtime. If, however, the jury sides with the plaintiffs, they could be entitled to as much as $14.4 million in damages. The bank has declined to discuss a settlement.

Unfortunately, many companies and businesses find ways around this law or just fail to pay their employees overtime pay altogether. If you or someone you work with has worked overtime hours but not received your overtime pay, then you should speak to a Tennessee employment overtime pay lawyer right away. They will hear your case and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
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I don’t know why but there seems we have a disturbing amount of cases where Hotels refuse to pay overtime to employees. We filed a lawsuit against one hotel last month for FLSA violations and are preparing a new one now. Apparently, other Tennessee Overtime Lawyers are seeing same problems. If you or someone you work with has worked overtime hours but not received your overtime pay, then you should speak to a Tennessee employment overtime pay lawyer right away.

According to this case, the hotels, the Best Western Music Row on Division and the Comfort Inn Downtown on Demonbreun, paid housekeepers as little as $3.50 an hour and made them work up to 70 hours a week without breaks. Rajesh Aggarwal, the franchise owner of both hotels stated that, “I’m certain that’s untrue,” when asked about the claims. According to the lawsuit, many of the hotel housekeepers are Hispanic single women and were paid a flat rate between $650 and $676 every 15 days, and the workers were sometimes given just one day off per week. Also, working fourteen hours a day was common. The lawsuit alleges several violations of the Federal Labor Standards Act.
Greg Adkins, president of the Tennessee Hospitality Association, said lawsuits brought against hotels are sometimes filed by “disgruntled employees,” adding that just because allegations have been made does not mean there was any wrongdoing. He also stated that,”Our hoteliers strive to abide by all state and federal laws.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2011 it was discovered that there were widespread wage pay abuse among the hotel and motel industry in Tennessee. Federal officials discovered thirty-four hotels across the state, which were fined a total of $14,552 in civil penalties and required to pay out more than $170,000 in back wages for labor violations.
According to the Tennessee Department of Labor, there are nearly 20,000 employed in cleaning and maintenance jobs statewide. , Housekeepers in Tennessee total more than 8,000, and are paid around $9.86 an hour on average. The employees involved in the lawsuit were however, paid between $3.50 and seven dollars an hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
The lawsuit includes four employees but housekeepers who worked for either of the two hotels in the past three years can join the lawsuit. The lawsuit is seeking class-action status.
Aggarwal, according to the lawsuit, hired Hernandez last summer to work as a house cleaner at the Best Western on Music Row, working 11-hour shifts six days a week.
The suit states that Hernandez, like the other employees, was never required to record his workday hours. Instead, he was paid $50 a day regardless of how many hours he worked.
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In Tennessee and all across the United States employees are entitled by law to receive overtime pay if they work more than forty hours in a single work week. As a Tennessee Overtime Pay Lawyer one of the most common overtime violations we see arises when a business calls and employee an “assistant manager” so they don’t have to pay overtime.

According to this class action lawsuit filed against the Five Guys Burger Restaurant,
the Five Guys Assistant Managers claim that salaried Assistant Managers employed at Five Guys’ restaurants were improperly classified as exempt from overtime wage laws. The complaint claims that the Assistant Managers spent the majority of their time taking orders, conducting prep work, including cutting lettuce, onions, and potatoes, as well as taking inventory and receiving product shipments. The complaint states, these employees “were ‘managers’ in name only because they did not have managerial duties or authority and should therefore have been properly classified as non-exempt employees.”

The lawsuit stated that, “If Managers and Assistant managers are misclassified as exempt, they may be owed overtime back pay,” according to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
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We have lots of people call our office every day asking this very question; and the answer is……. it depends.

Just because you receive a salary and your employer calls you a “manager” does not mean you are not entitled to overtime pay for hours worked over 40. In order for your employer to avoid paying you at 1.5 times your normal rate of pay for hours over 40, certain requirements must be met
Most of these requirements are based on your actual job duties, just because your employer calls you a manager does not mean you are actually exempt. For example, if a fast food restaurant hires someone as an “assistant manager” but their job duties are running the cash register and delivering food to the customers- they are entitled to overtime even though their job title may indicate they are management.

In order to avoid paying overtime, your job must meet these requirements:

$455 minimum salary per week
If your don’t make at least $455 per week- you are not going to be exempt from receiving overtime under the executive/management exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Of course if you make more than $455 per week- this does not mean you are automatically exempt from receiving overtime either. Your job also must meet certain job requirements as well. :

Job Duties
To qualify for the executive employee exemption, in addition to receiving a minimum of $455 per week in pay ALL of the following job duties must be met:
• The employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
• The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and • The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.

Primary Duty
The term “primary duty” means the principal, main, major or most important duty that the employee performs. Determination of an employee’s primary duty must be based on all the facts in a particular case, with the major emphasis on the character of the employee’s job as a whole. Factors to consider when determining the primary duty of an employee include, but are not limited to:

• the relative importance of the major or most important duty as compared with other types of duties;
• the amount of time spent performing the major or most important duty;
• the employee’s relative freedom from direct supervision; and • the relationship between the employee’s salary and the wages paid to other employees for performance of similar work.

The amount of time spent performing the specific duty can be a useful guide in determining whether such work is the primary duty of an employee. Employees who spend more than 50 percent of their time performing a specific duty will generally satisfy the primary duty requirement. Time alone, however, is not the sole test, and nothing requires that exempt employees spend more than 50 percent of their time performing a specific duty.

Employees who do not spend more than 50 percent of their time performing their major or most important duty may nonetheless meet the primary duty requirement if the other factors (listed above) support such a conclusion.

Again, this is going to be based on a case by case basis and are very fact specific. As you can see from some of the definitions, lots of gray areas exist. We have handled many cases involving employees who were not receiving overtime because of employers claiming they were exempt when in fact they were not.
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We have handled Tennessee overtime wage cases and overtime case across the country for years. One thing I have learned is that these cases aren’t limited to a certain type of business nor size of business. We see violations from small local restaurants to fortune 500 companies. I will say that Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations from big corporations use to surprise me but no longer. I guess they make these big profits but cutting costs everywhere, included their employee’s wages. It is unfortunate but to often it is a reality.

Recently a lawsuit was filed against HP for failing to pay overtime. The lawsuit alleges that HP misclassified some workers as management and paid them salary instead of hourly. This allowed them to work the employees without paying overtime pay. It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit develops.
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It appears that another company may be failing to pay Tennessee Employee’s Overtime Pay. The new lawsuit allleges that two former employees of Shoe Show Inc, claim that the Shoe Show has denied overtime to several of its current and former store managers nationwide. The collective action lawsuit was filed earlier this month in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Jackson Division.

According to the case, Eugene Bethel and Deborah Webb worked for Shoe Show as store managers in three different Shoe Show stores located in Western and Eastern Tennessee. According to their complaint, Bethel and Webb claim that Shoe Show paid them less than the overtime rate required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Bethel and Webb also claim hat Shoe Show denied overtime pay to all store managers who oversaw the work of fewer than two full-time employees.

The lawsuit has stated that, “The law requires employers to pay their employees an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work. By refusing to pay Mr. Bethel, Ms. Webb, and other store managers proper pay for the overtime hours they worked, Shoe Show denied these hard-working men and women the pay they deserved and the pay they were legally entitled to receive.”
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According to this case, Supervisor Daniel Schoen Sr. will be paid $7,156 in overtime pay and his attorney will receive $28,382. His attorney stated that, “although Schoen, a current employee, is the department’s supervisor, much of his work is labor, which by law warrants overtime.” According to federal law, overtime is a requirement for all employees unless you are an executive employee. If you do labor during your work day for the most part then you are a laborer, no matter what title you may have.

There are retainer fees for the attorney and the overtime pay lawsuit but there are also other legal fees including a $75,000 settlement for a former clerk-administrator who filed a harassment lawsuit against the municipality in January 2011, although it did not admit any liability in the case. City officials agreed to that settlement in April.

In Tennessee as well as all across the country, employees work hard for their pay, especially when they put in hours of overtime. Unfortunately, however, many businesses and employers fail to pay their employees the proper overtime pay they are entitled by law or just fail to pay them overtime pay altogether. If you or someone you work with has worked more than forty hours in a work week but have not received the overtime pay for those hours, then you should talk to a Tennessee employment overtime pay lawyer right away. They will hear your case and work with you to see that you get the compensation you deserve.
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It looks like even the family oriented Disney World may not pay there employees as required under the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to this lawsuit, a former Senior Financial Analyst at Walt Disney Pictures filed a class action lawsuit against the company due to overtime pay and labor code violations. However, it could be over soon because the parties have reached a tentative agreement, subject to Court approval, to resolve the dispute without an admission of liability on the part of Disney.

The lawsuit involving Katherine Clay, on behalf of thirty former and current employees of the company, seeks various levels of damages for each plaintiff class member up to $4000 depending how long they worked at Walt Disney Pictures. “The failure by Disney to pay lawful overtime compensation and missed meals and rest break premium pay to each plaintiff class member, and the failure to timely pay all pay due upon termination of employment to each Class member no longer employed are unlawful and unfair business practices within the meaning of Business and Professional Code,” according to the complaint in the lawsuit.
If you have a Tennessee Labor Law question, feel free to contact us.
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