Filing a lawsuit requires some legwork up front, but overall is a relatively painless process. Getting a class-action lawsuit certified by a federal court, however, is neither easy nor straightforward. DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle focuses on getting major wage and hour lawsuits certified as class-actions and getting them resolved. Our Buffalo Grove overtime attorneys unearthed a federal case from the Northern District of Indiana regarding class certification that is of interest to both our present and future wage claim clients.
The dispute in Powers v. Centennial Communications Corp. arises out of claims for unpaid overtime and overtime adjustments for sales commissions for work performed by Plaintiffs in their capacity as a sales representatives for Defendant. Additionally, Plaintiffs claim that when they were paid commission-based overtime, the timing of those payments also violated federal law. The named Plaintiff filed suit as a result, and she alleged violations of the Indiana Wage Payment Satute and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and sought to certify a class-action on the federal claim under FLSA.
The District Court found that, in spite of the fact that she was not paid owed overtime wages, Plaintiff failed to make FLSA’s required initial showing that she and her putative class members were “victims of a common policy or plan” to do so. Finding fault with the fact that Plaintiff had only shown that one person (the named Plaintiff) had not been paid correctly, the Court declined to certify the class as to the unpaid overtime claim, as it would “have the effect of turning every individual violation of the FLSA into a bulky collective action.”
The Court then turned to the unpaid commissions-bassed overtime claim and determined that it could proceed to the opt-in stage because Defendant had systematically deferred the commission-based payments pursuant to its stated Sales Compensation Plan. Because the applicable statutes allow only for a limited delay in the payment of overtime adjustment payments and Defendant had repeatedly waited weeks to make the required payments after they were earned, the case could proceed as a class-action.
DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle focuses on nationwide class-action lawsuits and we have successfully handled disputes in federal court all over the country. Our Chicago overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the laws that govern wage claims, and we are eager to put our knowledge to work for you. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying overtime. When workers do not receive the wages they should, a lawsuit is often the only way to recover the wages that are rightfully theirs. DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle is based in Chicago and Oak Brook, IL., and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Wheaton wage and hour attorneys by phone at 1 (877) 990-4990, or through our online form.