The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that most people, who work more than 40 hours in a 7 day workweek, must be paid 1.5 times their regular rate of pay, which is called overtime. An overtime lawsuit is one in which a company is being sued for violations of the FLSA and/or state overtime laws.
- An overtime lawsuit is a class action suit (or a variation called a collective action) against employers who withhold overtime wages by denial, by falsely labeling them “exempt”, or by other elaborate cover-ups.
- Overtime lawsuits are occurring at a record pace
- Surge of lawsuits happening in the Pharmaceutical business
- Recent revisions to wage and hour laws are causing confusion and non-compliance from employers, resulting in a sudden surge of overtime lawsuits
- All workers making less than $23,660 a year qualify for overtime pay (Update: as of 1/1/2020, anyone making less than $35,568 a year qualifies for overtime pay)
- Blue collar employees, public service workers and first responders are also eligible for overtime
- Bad economy causes reductions in the workforce, and employees who stay take on more job duties which can cause their eligibility status to change
- Not all managers are necessarily exempt from overtime…see Manager sues tanning salon below
For example, an overtime lawsuit is mostly comprised of a large class action suit of 50 or more past and/or current employees, collectively suing their company for denying overtime pay. Unscrupulous employers have been dodging FLSA and state overtime laws since the standards have been enacted. Today, however, more employees are cracking down, and it is commonplace now to see an overtime lawsuit on the page of the news every week. It is like a domino effect.
Pharmaceutical Corps. Sued for Overtime Pay
When one overtime lawsuit is brought to the courts and hits national headlines, more employees become more aware of their overtime rights and are now speaking out more than ever before. For example there has been a recent surge in class-action overtime litigation across the country where major pharmaceutical companies are being sued. So far, more than 12 suits have been filed against AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, PLC, Eli Lily and Co, Bayer Corporation and Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc.
Many believe the sudden rise of class action suits are a direct result of the recent modifications to the federal wage and hour laws that redefined the criteria determining which employees qualify for overtime. All workers who make less than $455*/week or $23,660 annually (Update: $684/week or $35,568/year as of 1/1/2020) are eligible for overtime pay. This is a minimum earning wage raised in 2004 to cover hundreds of thousands of low wage industry workers such as healthcare, daycare, janitorial work, apparel industry, and agriculture.
Other persons eligible for overtime pay under the FLSA are all blue collar employees, law enforcement, public service workers and first responders and are within their rights to file an overtime lawsuit if their overtime wages are denied.
* The Department of Labor under the Obama Administration increased this salary amount to $913 per week effective 12/1/2016; however, this increase was blocked by a court ruling. The Trump Administration has instead only increased the minimum salary to $684 per week, effective 1/1/2020. The prior salary limit was $455/week. Please see this page for the latest updates.
The FLSA does exempt executives, managers, and professional employees from overtime pay. However, it is important to remember that job duties, not job titles determine whether or not you are exempt from overtime.
More and more businesses are being hit by a severe economy and they are cutting budgets to survive, which mean more layoffs, and the employees left are picking up extra job duties. A former assistant store manager of a Palm Beach, FL tanning salon found herself in this exact position and has brought a class action overtime lawsuit against the tanning salon chain for not paying their employees overtime.
Former assistant, Kristen Bennington, claims only a small percentage of her job duties were managerial as defined by the FairPay Overtime Rules. Instead she spent most of her days cleaning tanning beds, operating the cash register, and stocking merchandise. She is claiming that she and other employees should not be classified as exempt employees under the FLSA and could be awarded overtime wages, liquidated damages, and attorney fee reimbursement.
If you are in a managerial position, it is important that you examine your day-to-day job duties and make sure you are in fact spending most of your time managing others and not performing the same tasks as those you supervise. Even though you may have started your job as exempt does not mean your status cannot change. If you believe you may have a valid claim against your employer, fill out our Case Evaluation Form today and an experienced overtime attorney will help you decide if your claim is a valid one.