Overtime Class Actions
A small problem can quickly grow into a large one when a group of employees files a class action lawsuit. One of the most common class action lawsuits concerns alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act concerning payment of overtime.
The attorneys of Key Harrington Barnes PC represent Texas employers in all types of wage and hour disputes, including overtime class actions. We also help employers avoid disputes by advising them on overtime laws. Our law office is in Dallas.How a Minor Overtime Problem can Grow Into a big Problem
Overtime disputes rarely start as big problems. In most cases, employers believe they have read all of the laws and are doing everything correctly. However, a minor misstep can lead to a technical violation. Examples of issues that can lead to technical violations of the wage and hours laws concerning overtime include:
- Off-the-clock work
- Employees who work during meal breaks
- Misclassification of employees as exempt from the requirement to pay overtime
If an employer makes a mistake with one employee, it likely made the mistake with others. What begins as a case involving hundreds of dollars could quickly become thousands of dollars.
Most overtime claims are filed as class action lawsuits — or more correctly, as collective action lawsuits. In a collective action lawsuit, employees must "opt-in" to be a part of the action. With a class action, employees must opt out or they will be automatically included. Employees can also file hybrid actions, in which a class action and a collective action proceed at the same time.
Plaintiffs in wage and hour litigation can seek liquidated damages if the violation is willful or knowing. Courts often set a low bar to determine if a violation is willful or knowing. For example, if your company knew there was a law requiring overtime pay, your violation could be construed as "knowing," despite your best intention to comply with the law.
Finally, the Fair Labor Standards Act calls for mandatory attorney fees if you lose. Plaintiff attorney fees are not tied to the amount recovered. Even if the amount of unpaid overtime is thousands of dollars, attorney's fees can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's easy for damages in an overtime class action to exceed $1 million.
To protect your company's bottom line, call our attorneys as soon as possible concerning an overtime dispute.For More Information About Overtime Class Actions
Call our Dallas lawyers at (214) 615-7925 or send us an email using our contact form to discuss your company's situation.