Low Level “Managers” Claim They Are Owed Unpaid Overtime Wages

Hundreds of Level One Managers for the Southern New England Telephone Co. are challenging their exempt classification under the FLSA and Connecticut state labor law. Being classified as “exempt” results in them not being paid overtime when they work over 40 hours per week. The case is scheduled to go to trial in the next week and it appears that AT&T may take its chances this time instead of paying out tens of millions of dollars, as it has to resolve numerous prior unpaid overtime claims. This case is noteworthy because it could be one of the very few wage and hour cases that are not settled out of court. In many overtime pay claims, the employer’s mistake in classification is fairly clear, leaving the two sides to figure out and negotiate the amount of unpaid back overtime pay the employees are owed.

overtime trial going to court

Manager Case Overview

In short, the low level managers claim that they should not be exempt from overtime under the federal labor laws because they don’t have the power to hire and fire the employees they supervise and that their primary duty is not “managing a subdivision of the company”. The lawsuit alleges that these “managers” worked 50 to 70 hours per week and that back in the 70s these types of employees actually did receive overtime pay. If AT&T is wrong and has misclassified its employees, it could be looking at paying the class millions of dollars – potentially owing an amount equal to double the total of 3 years of back overtime wages plus attorneys’ fees and cost.

Many Businesses Misclassify Employees

AT&T is not alone when it comes to claims that employees are being misclassified as exempt instead of non-exempt. Similar overtime wage claims have been successfully brought and settled by a wide variety of workers including: oil spill and disaster clean-up workers, oil and gas field workers, maritime and barge workers, cable and telecom workers, IT tech support employees, pharmaceutical reps, loan officers, health care workers, independent contractors and the list goes on. Due to its more favorable state overtime pay laws, a significant numbers of these types of claims are brought in California. The U.S. Department of Labor as well as the California and other individual state regulators have become increasingly aggressive in cracking down on companies that misclassify employees as exempt and/or independent contractors.

Have You Been Misclassified?

If you believe that you may have a claim or would like to get more information, please call us at 1-866-559-0400, email us at mlore@overtime-flsa.com or submit your information using our convenient Case Evaluation form for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL review of your circumstances.

Michael Lore is the founder of The Lore Law Firm. For over 25 years, his law practice and experience extend from representing individuals in all aspects of labor & employment law, with a concentration in class and collective actions seeking to recover unpaid back overtime wages, to matters involving executive severance negotiations, non-compete provisions and serious personal injury (work and non-work related). He has handled matters both in the state and federal courts nationwide as well as via related administrative agencies. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Michael by using our chat functionality.