WAGE AND HOUR RECENT CASES
Dr. Brian Kriegler consulted with a large restaurant chain
A large restaurant chain faced a wage & hour misclassification class action lawsuit in California. The potential class consisted of kitchen managers who alleged that they should have been classified as hourly non-exempt (rather than salary exempt) employees. As such, they would have been entitled to compensation relating to overtime as well as missed meal and rest breaks.
Econ One was retained by counsel for the restaurant chain to construct, implement, and analyze a survey for potential class members to complete. The purpose of the survey was to understand what job duties the potential class members were performing--and how long it took to perform those job duties--during the class period. Dr. Kriegler worked with restaurant experts to ensure that the survey included a clear, comprehensive, and relevant set of questions. Dr. Kriegler concluded that the responses from the survey indicated that: (1) there was substantial variation in the amount of time spent performing various tasks which suggested that the kitchen managers were exercising their own judgment; and (2) for the vast majority of respondents, over half of their time was spent performing managerial and supervisorial duties. These survey results were presented at mediation. The case settled prior to the class certification hearing.
Dr. Brian Kriegler consulted with a molding and manufacturing company
A wage & hour class action lawsuit was filed against a molding and manufacturing company in California. The class consists of hourly employees, who allege that their employer systematically deleted overtime from timekeeping records, thereby denying class members compensation for hours worked. The class members also allege reporting time violations, i.e., they claim they were told to arrive for work without the guarantee of at least four paid hours which is required by law.
Econ One was retained by counsel for the molding and manufacturing company to analyze timekeeping records and address reporting time pay issues. Dr. Kriegler addressed plaintiffs’ allegations that overtime was systematically deleted from the timecards by examining a representative sample of over six years of electronic timekeeping records. Dr. Kriegler found that: (1) if an employee worked overtime, that time had to be approved by a supervisor; (2) the vast majority of overtime deletions were for less than 10 minutes per day; and (3) oftentimes, an employee\'s timecard showed overtime that was approved by a supervisor. Collectively, these results suggested that the time deletions were not systematic, but rather, that the supervisors were exercising judgment as to whether overtime was worked and approved. In order to address reporting time pay issues, Dr. Kriegler utilized daily rosters and sign-in sheets, as well as declarations of class members and supervisors. Dr. Kriegler concluded that for a given work day, there was sufficient information to identify whether an employee showed up for work, as well as the amount of work performed according to the time card. In this ongoing matter, Dr. Kriegler has provided deposition and trial testimony during the liability phase.
Saunders, et al. v. The City of New York, et al.
In this FLSA collective action, employees of the New York City Department of Education sued the City alleging denial of overtime pay. This case was complicated by the differing mix and quality of various data systems. An examination of the available data that were produced by the defendants revealed four data systems--two for recording time and two for recording payroll information. The transitions from the older time and payroll systems to newer systems had occurred during the liability period. In addition, the transitions had been staggered across different employees over multiple years resulting in four possible time and payroll system combinations for any given employee at any given time. The data also were incomplete and partially available only in paper or scanned formats. Further complicating the processing of these data was that some data from the older time system were in handwritten form.
Louis Lanier (prior to joining Econ One) was retained by counsel for the plaintiffs to process the data in these data systems in order to calculate any back pay damages that may have resulted from unpaid overtime. Additionally, Dr. Lanier was asked to value stocks and flows of comp time, which allegedly was paid illegally in lieu of cash under certain circumstances. Dr. Lanier submitted several expert reports addressing back pay damages associated with both unpaid overtime and comp time.
Fairfield v. Coast Leasing Corp.
In this wage and hour class action, the plaintiffs were a group of Advantage Rent-A-Car hourly employees. They claimed that they were not correctly compensated for overtime and missed meal breaks.
Brian Kriegler (prior to joining Econ One) was retained by counsel for the plaintiffs to determine the class size (both the number of people and the number of work periods). He recommended a sampling procedure for examining employees’ punch card and pay stub records so that the class size could be estimated. Using probabilistic and statistical analyses, Dr. Kriegler estimated: (1) the number of work periods that did not accurately reflect the actual number of hours worked; (2) the number of work periods for which employees were not compensated appropriately according to State law; and (3) the number of people in the class. Dr. Kriegler provided deposition testimony to support his sampling methodology and analytical results. The case settled prior to trial for $2.5 million.