Southern District of Illinois Federal Court Dismisses Minimum Wage Claim for Failure to Plead Sufficient Facts

A motions to dismiss is a weapon that is frequently used in large scale wage claim litigation, as it is an easy and expedient way for defendants to eliminate many lawsuits. Lubin Austermuehle is an experienced class-action law firm whose Chicago wage and hour attorneys frequently handle overtime disputes, and we deal with such motions on a regular basis, which is why our lawyers were interested in a case out of the Southern District of Illinois that discusses the federal standard for dismissals under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 12(b)(6).

FRCP 12(b)(6) allows litigants to dismiss an action for a failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted by a federal court. Nicholson v. UTI Worldwide, Inc. is an action brought by forklift operators who worked for Defendant Uti in its warehouses in Illinois. Plaintiffs claimed that they were forced to work without pay prior to the start of their shifts performing inspections, logging into computer systems, “donning special clothing and protective gear,” and other activities. Because they were not paid for this work, Plaintiffs claimed that Defendant had violated the Fairl Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL). In their complaint, Plaintiffs failed to plead how frequently the pre-shift activities occurred and also included no estimates of the applicable wage rates that applied during the times that Plaintiff’s performed such work. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss for the lack of pleading specificity in response to Plaintiff’s complaint.

In making its decision, the Court held that Defendants had been sufficiently notified of the overtime claims because Plaintiffs plead enough facts to show that their employment was covered by FLSA and the IMWL. Despite the fact that the complaint did not include allegations that Plaintiffs worked over forty hours a week, Plaintiffs did allege that they worked “overtime,” which was enough to give Defendant notice of the claim. However, the Court dismissed the minimum wage claims because Plaintiffs failed to plead facts suggesting that their actual wages fell beneath the applicable minimum wage. Thus, the Court allowed the overtime claims to proceed, but dismissed the minimum wage claim under the IMWL.

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. Lubin Austermuehle is based in Chicago, 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 Arlington Heights wage and hour attorneys by phone at 1 630-333-0333, or through our online form.

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