Nov 11

Overtime Pay the Source of Many Employment Lawsuits

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Recent Cases Demonstrate Discrepancies in Overtime Pay

After failed settlement discussions, a dispute over whether a group of supervisors at a private prison in central Kentucky should have been paid overtime by a private prison company will go to trial in federal court in 2014.  In the case at least 25 people who worked at the private prison claims that Nashville, Tenn.-based CCA forced them to work extra hours, denied them meal and rest breaks and refused to pay overtime. They are collectively seeking at least $435,000 in back pay.  CCA has denied the allegations, saying the supervisors were managers and exempt from overtime rules.

The shift supervisors and assistant supervisors claim they did uncompensated work before and after regular shift hours, including traveling between minimum- and medium-security units at the 825-inmate prison in central Kentucky, staying on post while waiting for a replacement officer to arrive and attending training sessions on regular days off.  CCA classifies the shift supervisors and assistant supervisors as “exempt” from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The act has rules covering which employees qualify for overtime, based in part on salary, how many people the supervisor oversees and the duties included in the supervisor’s job description and whether management duties are part of the job.

The lawsuit is similar to a suit filed in federal court in Kansas that sought to certify a class of assistant shift supervisors at CCA’s 65 facilities in 19 states. In that case, assistant shift supervisors alleged that CCA misclassified them as exempt from overtime pay. The two sides settled that case.  CCA and a group of collections officers, case managers and clerks also settled a suit concerning overtime in 2009, also in federal court in Kansas. In that case, CCA agreed to pay a maximum of $7 million, but did not acknowledge fault in the case.

If you believe that you have not been paid overtime, contact a Montana lawyer with experience in workplace disputes.

Source:  Brett Barrouquere, “Judge Sets Trial Date for CCA Overtime Lawsuit,” The Sacramento Bee, Nov. 11, 2013.

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