Our attorneys provide years of experience prosecuting wage and hour class and collective actions and have a proven track record of vindicating employees’ rights through the class and collective action process. Employment cases can be complex and you need attorneys with experience and knowledge of the law. TMLG’s attorneys have been extraordinarily successful not only certifying wage and hour class and collective actions but also seeing them through settlement, trial, and appeal.
Overtime and Minimum Wage Violations
Non-exempt employees must typically be paid minimum wages consistent with federal and state law, and also overtime pay in the amount of one-and-a-half times the normal hourly rate for any hours worked in excess of 40 in a work week. Non-exempt employees who are not paid minimum wages or overtime pay may have a claim against their employer. Through class and collective actions, we have successfully recovered minimum wage and overtime pay for thousands of workers, including retail employees, cable and satellite dish technicians, drywall installers, glass manufacturers, and janitors. In 2010, we obtained a judgment in excess of a $4.17 million on behalf of 325 drywall workers who alleged Precision Drywall and its officers failed to pay them for overtime work and made unlawful deductions to their pay. We served as lead counsel throughout the case, including trial, and successfully defended judgment on appeal.
Rest and Meal Breaks
Washington law protects the health and safety of its workforce by requiring employers to provide non-exempt employees with two 10-minute rest periods per four-hour shift and one 30-minute meal period per every five hours worked. A class action is often the most effective way to vindicate the rights of employees who have not been allowed adequate breaks. At TMLG, we have extensive experience litigating rest and meal break claims, and successfully negotiating multi-million dollar settlements on behalf of thousands of employees. In July 2009, after seven years of litigation, we obtained a $35 million settlement on behalf of 88,000 Wal-Mart employees whose claims included rest and meal break violations.
Lawsuits and class actions over paid vacation benefits are increasing across the United States. These disputes often arise when employers fail to honor vacation pay policies they have implemented depriving employees of promised compensation in violation of wage and hour laws. In 2009, TMLG attorney Toby Marshall obtained an arbitration award in excess of $2.6 million on behalf of 500 employees deprived of earned vacation benefits. Mr. Marshall acted as co-lead class counsel throughout litigation and successfully defended the award on appeal. See McGinnity v. AutoNation, Inc., 149 Wn. App. 277, 202 P.3d 1009 (2009).
The protections of wage and hour statutes apply to all employees except those specifically excluded by the legislature or congress. A bona fide independent contractor does not fall under the protections of the wage and hour laws because the contractor is not “employed” by an employer. However, an employer cannot avoid complying with wage and hour laws by merely referring to someone as an “independent contractor.” An employer also cannot avoid wage and hour compliance by classifying an employee as “exempt” from wage and hour laws when the employee’s job duties indicate the person is non-exempt. Our attorneys have successfully litigated and settled class actions on behalf of employees who have been misclassified either as independent contractors or as “exempt” from the wage and hour laws. Our successes include a multi-million dollar settlement against a major telecommunications company.