Courts have been flooded lately with claims by non-exempt employees who have not been compensated for time spent logging into computer systems and performing other start-up procedures. As experienced overtime lawyers, Lubin Austermuehle has been tracking many of these cases, and the Northern District of Illinois made a recent ruling on one such case.
In Kernats v. Comcast Corporation, Plaintiffs worked for Defendant as customer account representatives (CAE’s) who performed non-exempt work and were paid on an hourly basis. Plaintiffs worked in one of Defendant’s eight call centers in Illinois, and while all Plaintiffs did not perform exactly the same job, they did have the same job description and primary duty. Additionally, they all had similar training, were governed by the same employment policies, and were compensated in the same way. Also, all CAE’s were allegedly required to first log into a work computer, load all of the necessary computer applications, and log into Defendant’s phone system before the start of their shift. In addition to the customer service responsibilities, Defendant required CAE’s to learn about new products, services, marketing campaigns, and review company emails.
Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that Defendant failed to compensate Plaintiffs for the time after they first logged in, but prior to their scheduled start time, which violated the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA). Plaintiffs also claimed that working this uncompensated time caused them to work more than forty hours a week. This entitled them to overtime compensation pursuant to the Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL). After some limited discovery, Plaintiffs moved to certify two classes, one for each state law claim, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.
In making their ruling, the Court found that Plaintiffs met the threshold requirements of Rule 23(a) because the class members were subject to standardized conduct by Defendant. This conduct was the implementation of a company-wide practice allowing CAE’s to work after their login, but before the start of their shift without being paid. The class-members’ claims also were based upon the same legal theory, and thus met the minimal requirements of typicality and commonality. The Court then held that the requirements of Rule 23(b)(3) were met because the evidence required to prove liability that was common to the class significantly outweighed the evidence particular to the individual class members. The Court also found that a class-action was the preferable means for adjudicating the issues because the individual recovery for individuals would be relatively small, while the aggregate recovery would be quite large. As such, the Court ruled that the requirements of FRCP 23 were met and certified the class-action.
Lubin Austermuehle has a team of attorneys who focus on nationwide class action lawsuits and who have successfully handled many large wage and hour disputes. Our Aurora overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Our attorneys are dedicated to getting you your unpaid wages and giving you efficient and dynamic representation. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago wage and hour attorneys by phone at 1 630-333-0333, or through our online form.