Articles Posted in Overtime rights

Under both New Jersey and Federal Wage laws, a plaintiff seeking to recover damages for overtime and wage violations must set forth a pleading with sufficient facts that, if proven to be true, would entitle him or her to the relief requested. The United States District Court of New Jersey recently explained the allegations required to withstand a motion to dismiss in a wage violation claim. If your employer did not pay you the full wages you are owed or failed to pay your overtime wages for hours worked in excess of forty hours per week, it is prudent to speak with an experienced New Jersey overtime rights attorney to discuss your options for seeking compensation.

Allegations Regarding the Defendant’s Overtime Wage Violations

Reportedly, the plaintiff worked for the defendant as a baker and doughnut maker. The plaintiff was employed with the defendant from October 2014 through June 2016, and from June 2017 through November 2017. During both periods of employment, he worked about ten hours per day, six to seven days per week. He was paid $600.00 per week, but was not paid overtime wages. He was also not paid the total amount of wages he was owed.

It is alleged that the defendant filed a lawsuit on behalf of himself and others similarly situated in which he alleged that the defendant’s failure to pay him properly constituted violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (NJWHL). The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

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It is common for cases involving employment issues, such as wage violations, discrimination, and whistleblower claims, to be filed in federal court due to the interplay between applicable state and federal laws. In certain cases, a federal law may preempt a state law and, therefore, a claim that may be valid under state law will be dismissed. In some cases, however, the court will conclude that state law should prevail.

This was the case in a recent decision set forth by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, in which the court rejected a claim that the Federal Administration Aviation Authorization Act (FAAAA) preempted New Jersey law in a case alleging wage violations.  If you believe your employer failed to pay you the appropriate wages for the hours you worked, you should speak with a skilled New Jersey overtime rights attorney as soon as possible to determine your options for pursuing any wages you may be owed.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiffs’ Employment

The plaintiffs, who were delivery drivers for the defendant, filed a class action lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant violated the New Jersey Wage Payment Law (“NJWPL”) and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (“NJWHL”) by incorrectly classifying them as independent contractors. The defendant filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the FAAAA preempted New Jersey law. The court denied the defendant’s motion, after which the defendant appealed.

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In many instances where an employer fails to pay an employee proper wages for hours worked, the underpaid employee’s situation is not unique, and the employer is, in fact, failing to pay many individuals adequate wages. In such cases, it may be beneficial to file a collective action that allows the employee to seek wages on behalf of his or herself and all employees similarly situated. Pursuing a collective action can be complicated, however, and requires the plaintiff to prove certain factors are met.

In a case recently heard by the District Court for the District of New Jersey, the court explained the requirements a plaintiff must meet to show both a class exists and who should be included in that class. If you believe your employer improperly denied you wages for hours worked, it is in your best interest to retain a knowledgeable New Jersey overtime rights attorney to discuss the facts of your case and which option for seeking wages is most beneficial under your circumstances.

Facts Regarding Plaintiff Employment

Reportedly, the plaintiff was employed as a cook at one of the defendant’s corporate cost centers. The defendant employer provides food and hospitality services to businesses nationally in onsite cost centers, which were essentially cafes. The cafes varied in size and employed anywhere from a handful to 70 non-exempt employees. Scheduling was handled locally. The plaintiff alleged that he was forced to keep track of his own hours, request permission to work overtime, and work unrecorded hours for which he was not paid, and that the defendant failed to compensate employees for time and travel expenses. As to other workers, the plaintiff alleged that he observed other employees working hours for which they were not compensated as well. As such, he filed an action seeking wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law. The plaintiff then filed a motion for a conditional certification of the case, which the defendant opposed.

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To pursue a collective action lawsuit alleging violations of state or federal overtime laws, you must provide sufficient evidence of other similarly situated workers who suffered due to your employer’s alleged violations. Failure to provide enough evidence to show that your case should be permitted to proceed as a collective action can result in the court’s refusal to grant a certification of a collective action.

In Freeman v. Sam’s East, the United States District Court of the District of New Jersey, the Honorable William Martini, held that a uniform job description alone is generally insufficient evidence to grant a conditional certification of a nationwide class of Sam’s Club employees. If you believe your employer owes you and your coworkers unpaid overtime wages, you should speak with a knowledgeable  New Jersey overtime rights attorney to assess whether you may be able to pursue a collective action claim.

Employment and Procedural History

The plaintiff alleged working at Sam’s Club as a Fresh Assistant Managers (FAMs). He claimed that his employer incorrectly classified him as an exempt employee to avoid paying him overtime wages, and that he and other FAMs were entitled to overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for working more than forty hours per week. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the employer on behalf of himself and all FAMs who worked for the employer from 2014 on and were similarly situated.

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