Articles Posted in Overtime violation

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to adhere to certain wage guidelines. Among other things, the FLSA obligates employers to pay an employee overtime wages for any time he or she works that is in excess of 40 hours a week. There are certain exceptions to the FLSA overtime guarantees for employees that are deemed exempt, however. In a recent case, the United States District Court of New Jersey analyzed what an employer must establish to prove the executive exemption to the FLSA applies. If you worked more than 40 hours per week but did not receive overtime wages, you should speak with a knowledgeable New Jersey overtime rights attorney to discuss whether you may be able to pursue a claim against your employer for overtime wages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiffs’ Employment

Allegedly, the plaintiffs collectively worked as sales managers for the defendant garden and lawn supply store. The parties disputed whether the plaintiffs performed managerial duties or whether the majority of their time was spent doing merchandising work. Additionally, it was disputed how much time, if any, the plaintiffs spent supervising seasonal employees who worked below them. The plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against the defendant, alleging the defendant violated the FLSA by failing to pay them overtime wages. Plaintiffs and defendants both filed motions for summary judgment. Upon review the court denied both motions.

Exemptions Under the FLSA

The FLSA sets forth federal overtime guarantees that cannot be contractually waived. White collared employers who are paid a salary rather than an hourly wage are exempt from coverage under the FLSA. The courts have interpreted this to mean anyone in a bona fide administrative, executive, or professional capacity. Employers bear the burden of proving that an exemption to the FLSA overtime guarantee applies.

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Under both state and federal law, New Jersey employers are required to pay their employees overtime wages for any hours worked in excess of forty hours per week. There are certain exceptions to overtime laws that allow employers to evade the duty to pay overtime wages. For example, an employer can use a “tip credit” to count tipped income towards a tipped employee’s minimum and overtime wages. The United States District Court of New Jersey recently explained what notice an employer must provide to an employee to validly claim a tip credit, in a case in which the employer classified certain employees as tipped employees. If you believe you were not fully paid wages for hours you worked in excess of forty hours per week it is essential to engage a trusted New Jersey overtime rights attorney to help you seek any damages you may be able to recover.

The Plaintiffs’ Employment

Reportedly, the plaintiffs worked for the defendant diner as a busser and a server and earned $3.50 per hour and $2.15 per hour respectively, plus tips. The defendant considered employees who earned wages and tips to be tipped employees. While the defendant did not pay tipped employees the minimum wage required under law, it attempted to use a tip credit to count the tips the tipped employees received as income toward the minimum wage. The defendant provided the tipped employees with a form stating it intended to claim a tip credit. In April 2016, the plaintiffs filed a collective action against the defendants alleging New Jersey and FLSA minimum wage and overtime violations, due to inadequate notice of the tip credit. The defendant filed an answer denying that it failed to provide notice to the tipped employees that it intended to claim a tip credit and pay them less than the minimum wage or overtime wages. The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the defendants did not comply with the requirements for claiming a tip credit.

Requirements for Claiming a Tip Credit

Under the FLSA, an employer can only claim a tip credit if it notifies the tipped employee that his or her wage is being reduced under the tip credit provision of the FLSA. Specifically, the FLSA requires that an employer notify the employee of the amount he or she will be paid and the amount of the tip credit the employer will claim, which cannot exceed the value of the tips the employee actually receives. Further, the employee must be able to retain all of his or her tips unless there is a tip pooling arrangement. If the employer does not notify the employee of these requirements, it cannot legally claim a tip credit. The notice requirement is strictly construed and an employer that did not provide the required notice cannot claim a tip credit. In the subject case, the court found that the language in the notice provided to the plaintiffs by the defendant did not notify the plaintiff that the defendant was not permitted to claim a tip credit in excess of the tips an employee received. Thus, the court granted the plaintiffs’ FLSA minimum and overtime wage claims. The court found there was insufficient information to grant the motion as to the plaintiffs’ New Jersey wage law claims, however.

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New York businesses are required by both state and federal laws to pay their employees for any hours they work, which includes overtime wages for any hours worked over forty hours per week. If an employer fails to pay an employee wages owed, an employee can file a lawsuit to seek compensation. Proving you are entitled to overtime wages is a multi-step process, however, as not all employees who work in New York are entitled to wage and hour protections. This was illustrated in a recent case filed in the Southern District of New York, in which the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims because the employer was exempt from the requirement to pay the plaintiffs’ overtime wages, due to plaintiffs’ positions. If you work in New York and you believe your employer owes you wages for hours worked, you should speak with a trusted New York overtime rights attorney as soon as possible regarding your right to seek any compensation you may be owed.

Factual Background

Reportedly, the plaintiffs worked as agents for the defendant employer. The defendant was a subcontractor for a company that was retained by a wireless service provider to solicit customers for a government-subsidized program that provides mobile telephone services to low-income individuals. The plaintiffs stated that they had daily meetings in the morning and then spent the majority of each day soliciting wireless plan applications before returning to the office.

Plaintiffs claimed that the defendant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor laws by allegedly misclassifying the plaintiffs as independent contractors and failing to pay them overtime wages. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing they were not the plaintiffs’ employer and that the plaintiffs were outside salespeople and therefore, not entitled to wage and hour protections. The court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, after which the plaintiffs appealed.

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In many lawsuits arising out of New Jersey overtime rights violations, the defendant’s failure to pay overtime wages will not only impact the named plaintiff but will extend to an entire class of employees. In such cases, the plaintiff can seek to pursue a collective action, asking the court to award damages on behalf of all employees who are similarly situated. If a plaintiff wishes to pursue a collective action, he or she must undergo a process in which he or she seeks the court’s approval of the purported class. The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey recently explained the process of certifying a class and the level of proof needed to obtain a certification in a New Jersey overtime rights violation case. If your employer failed to pay you and your coworkers wages earned for working overtime you should meet with a seasoned New Jersey overtime rights attorney to discuss what evidence you need to pursue a collective action.

Claimant’s Employment

Reportedly, the claimant was employed as a kitchen worker by the defendant. He worked six days per week, two shifts per day, which totaled approximately sixty hours. He was paid a weekly wage of $800.00 but was never informed of his hourly rate and was never compensated for hours worked over forty hours per week. The claimant filed a complaint alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), in which he stated that it was the defendant’s policy not to pay employees overtime wages, and averred that he had conversations with other employees, including kitchen workers and waiters, in which they stated they worked similar hours as the claimant and were not paid overtime wages. He named five other similarly situated workers in his complaint, identifying them by name, position, and physical characteristics. He subsequently filed a motion requesting that the court certify his collective action.

The Process of Determining if an FLSA Collective Action Should be Certified

The FLSA sets forth overtime guarantees that cannot be waived via a contract and grants the right to pursue a collective action to employees who are similarly situated. A collective action differs from a class action in that under the FLSA, collective members must opt-in via written consent. In the Third Circuit, determining whether a collective action should be certified is a two-step process. First, the court must determine whether the putative collective members are employees who are similarly situated to the claimant. If the court finds that they are, it will grant a conditional certification to allow the plaintiff to provide notice to anyone who may choose to opt-in and to allow the parties to conduct discovery.
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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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