Why may I be entitled to overtime from Southern Home/ /ResCare? What is the FLSA?
         
But everyone I have ever worked for in this business has failed to pay overtime.   What is "overtime?"
         
How do I bring an FLSA lawsuit to get paid for my overtime?   Does it matter that I did not "put in" for or seek prior approval for the time spent performing work activities?
         
What do I get if I win?   What activities are considered "work?"
         
Won't my employer just fire me if I sue them for unpaid wages or overtime?   I already get overtime. Does the FLSA apply to me?
         
Do I have to pay the company's legal fees if I lose the case?  

How do I prove the amount of time spent doing off-the-clock compensable activities?

         
How long do I have to bring an FLSA claim?   I get "compensatory time" instead of cash for overtime. Is this allowed?
         
What actual financial costs or risks are there for me to bring an FLSA case?   At what rate must overtime be paid?
         
How do I pay my lawyers to bring an FLSA case?   Do all "similarly situated" employees have to participate in an FLSA suit if one employee decides to sue?
         
How long does an FLSA case take?   I got a severance agreement and/or signed a waiver saying I would not sue the company. Do I still have any rights?
         
Does it matter that I never reported the time or asked for overtime?   Where do I get more information?
         
What are liquidated damages?      

 
   
Why may I be entitled to overtime from ResCare / Southern Home?

We believe you are entitled to unpaid overtime for the time you spent driving from one client's house to another client's house.  Drive time that occurs during the work day is typically considered "work time."

It is our understanding, and the experience of the Plaintiffs in this case, that as a residential home care provider who worked for ResCare / Southern Home, more than 20% of the time spent working for clients is spent in general household work.  If that is the case, then you would not be an exempt employee and you should have been paid overtime for the drive time.

This unpaid time may amount to thousands of dollars in unpaid wages for you and others. 

 
   
But everyone I have ever worked for in this business has failed to pay overtime.

We believe that the practice of violating the FLSA is widespread in this particular industry. The FLSA is over 60 years old and through the years many companies have lost focus on the law's requirements. They consider that residential companionship service employees are exempt. That is not the law if the facts are as we understand them, and many companies are not in compliance and have been sued for overtime violations.

   
 
   
How do I bring an FLSA lawsuit to get paid for my overtime?

To join this case against Defendants you only need to complete and return the Consent Form.

   
 
   
What do I get if I win?

A successful case will result in an employee getting paid unpaid wages or overtime. Successful plaintiffs are entitled to back pay for all unpaid overtime, usually beginning two years before the complaint is filed.  In most cases, they are also entitled to double the amount of back pay.  This is called "liquidated damages," and is essentially paid instead of interest on the unpaid wages. The FLSA also requires the employer to reimburse out of pocket litigation expenses and pay an additional attorneys' fee award.

   
 
   
Won't my employer just fire me if I sue them for unpaid wages or overtime?

Not legally and not without risking a substantial penalty. The FLSA specifically provides that it is "unlawful for any person ... to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted any or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this Act, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding."

This statute has "teeth," and is interpreted broadly in favor of employees. Recently an employee was awarded punitive damages against an employer who retaliated.

An employer who retaliates or discriminates against an employee in violation of this statute is potentially subject to fines or even criminal prosecution, and the affected employee is entitled to "legal or equitable relief ... including without limitation employment, reinstatement, promotion, and the payment of wages lost and an additional equal amount" plus attorneys' fees and court costs. Punitive damages are available in appropriate cases, and "anti-retaliation" cases may be brought against individuals as well as institutional employers.

In addition to "firing" cases, retaliation has been found when employers blacklisted employees who made FLSA claims, refused to hire applicants who had made FLSA claims at other jobs, fired relatives, reduced job responsibilities, assigned employees to unpopular job duties or shifts, disciplined employees out of proportion to past disciplinary practices, reduced performance evaluations, and declined to recommend "normal" raises.

   
 
   
Do I have to pay the company's legal fees if they lose the case?

No (except in the unlikely event a court were to decide the suit was "frivolous"). However, if a person loses the case, the court may make a plaintiff pay for the "costs" of the lawsuit which are such things as the charge for copies of depositions, etc.

   
 
   
How long do I have to bring an FLSA claim?

The FLSA normally permits recovery for work performed beginning two years before a complaint is filed in court (and continuing "forward" until the case is resolved). An additional year's recovery period is permitted if the employer "knew" that its employment and pay practices violated the FLSA, but "disregarded" these obligations. Nothing but the filing of a legal complaint in court "stops the clock." (A complaint to the employer, or the Department of Labor, does not stop the clock)

   
 
   
What actual financial costs or risks are there for me to bring an FLSA case?

If you return the Consent Form, we will represent you on a contingency basis and front all litigation expenses.  We only recover our fees and costs if we win the case or reach a settlement with the other side.  

   
 
   
How do I pay my lawyers to bring an FLSA case?

If you return the Consent Form, we will represent you on a contingency basis and front all litigation expenses.  We only recover our fees and costs if we win the case or reach a settlement with the other side.  You can call us to get a copy of the contingency fee contract or to ask us any questions about it.  A copy of the contract signed by Geddis is attached here.

 

   
 
   
How long does an FLSA case take?

It is difficult to estimate the time for a case to be resolved, but we expect this case to be resolved or reach trial within the next 12- 18 months.

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Does it matter that I never reported the time or asked for overtime?

No.  It is the employer's obligation to control the work. If an employer does not wish work to be performed it must prohibit it. "Failure to ask" for overtime is usually not a defense for an employer in an FLSA case. An exception might be if the employer has a requirement that generally all time be reported and actually has enforced it, or if an employee's failure to report means that the employer did not know the work was being performed.

   
 
   
What are liquidated damages?

These are damages an employee is entitled to receive if he or she brings a successful claim. The amount of damages are defined by the FLSA law as being double the unpaid wages due to the employee. Thus, if an employee is awarded $10,000 in unpaid wages, he or she may be entitled to get an additional $10,000 as liquidated damages, bringing the total recover to $20,000. These damages are essentially awarded in stead of lost interest. An employer can avoid paying liquidated damages only if it shows that it acted in good faith and that it had a reasonable basis to believe its practices complied with the law. "Good faith" has a special meaning under the FLSA, and requires that employers have made specific investigation into the application of the FLSA to the particular situation.

   
 
   
What is the FLSA?

The FLSA is the Fair Labor Standards Act. It is the federal law that governs payment of the minimum wage and payments for overtime. This is the law that requires is that most employees must be paid time and one-half for all "hours worked" over 40 hours in a work week (a defined 7-day period).

   
 
   
What is "overtime?"

For most employees, overtime is all the hours a person works over 40 in one work week. Overtime is supposed to be paid at time-and-a-half of an employee's regular rate of pay. For example if you make $10 per hour, then you should be paid $15 per hour for all hours you work over 40 in a work week.

   
 
   
Does it matter that I did not "put in for" or seek prior approval for the time spent performing work activities?

No. If your employer knew you were working overtime or reasonably should have known it, then you are entitled to be paid for the overtime. Many employers will tell employees that they will not pay for overtime that is not approved. However, if they know employees are working overtime, even if it is not approved, they are supposed to pay the employees for the overtime work.

   
 
   
What activities are considered "work?"

The courts have held that work time under the FLSA includes all time spent performing job-related activities which (a) genuinely benefit the employer, (b) which the employer "knows or has reason to believe" are being performed by an employee, and (c) which the employer does not prohibit the employee from performing. These can include activities performed during "off-the-clock" time, at the job site or elsewhere, whether "voluntary" or not.  This would include time spent traveling from residence to residence within a day and any other activities you engaged in for the benefit of the employer.

   
 
   
I already get overtime. Does the FLSA apply to me?

Maybe. Many employees put in "off the clock time" for which they are entitled to be paid. The FLSA defines "work" very broadly, and sometimes employers have failed to count all the hours an employee actually works.  Failing to allow you to track your travel time may violate the FLSA.

   
 
   
How do I prove the amount of time spent doing off-the-clock compensable activities?

The employer is supposed to maintain records of the time spent by employees performing compensable activities. If an employer does not maintain the required records, the employee is entitled to recover based on a good faith, reasonable and realistic estimate of the time he or she worked. In other words, you get to estimate how many overtime hours you worked. The employer will have the burden to challenge the reasonableness of the employee's estimates. Thus, as long as the employee's word is reasonable, what he or she estimates will count as accurate.

   
 
   
I get "compensatory time" ("Comp. Time") instead of cash for overtime. Is this allowed?

No, if you work for an employer other than the government. Only public sector (government) employees are permitted to receive comp. time. Comp. time instead of cash for FLSA overtime is not generally permitted in the private sector. A public sector employer may pay (at least some) FLSA overtime with comp. time.

   
 
   
At what rate must overtime be paid?

Overtime must be paid at time and one-half the "regular hourly rate" for every hour over an employee works over 40 hours (or the applicable threshold) in a workweek. (For employees whose normal pay is not an "hourly" rate, their regular rate requires converting pay to an hourly equivalent.) Longevity pay, shift differentials, and similar nondiscretionary additional wages should generally be included in calculating the FLSA overtime rate.

   
 
   
Do all "similarly situated" employees have to participate in an FLSA suit if one employee decides to sue?

No. FLSA cases are not "class actions." An employee need not bring or join an FLSA suit if he or she does not want to.  However, similarly situated employees are permitted to join an existing FLSA case, and this is a common procedure. If an employee does not join an existing FLSA suit he or she will not be entitled to recover any money as a result of the suit.

   
 
   
I got a severance agreement and/or signed a waiver saying I would not sue the company. Do I still have any rights?

Yes. Private employers may not ask their employees to sign away their rights to minimum wages and overtime pay, even in the context of a waiver. The rationale for this is simple. If employers could break the law by getting their employees to agree to it, then those conditions would be required before the employee would be hired. This would allow the employer to avoid the FLSA's obligations. Only waivers supervised by the DOL or obtained in a private lawsuit can eliminate your rights.

   
 
   
Where do I get more information?

By contacting us at 866-949-1400.