Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. for Failure to Pay Overtime Wages

September 24, 2012  |  Employment Law, Overtime Violations

A class action lawsuit was filed on September 19, 2012 in federal court in Dallas, Texas alleging that Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. failed to pay its employees overtime wages for all hours worked.

The two lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that they were forced to work off-the-clock before and/or after their shifts.  The workers would typically be required to show up at 6:30 a.m. to perform duties before their stores opened for customers at 7:00 a.m., but would not be allowed to clock-in for pay purposes until 7 a.m.  Similarly, those employees were required to clock out when the store closed for customers at 5:00 p.m., but were required to stay and perform work related to closing the store without pay. Those employees also frequently performed work during their lunch breaks even though Sunbelt typically deducted one hour from pay for a lunch break. These improper lunch break deductions resulted in those employees being owed additional overtime pay.

Under the FLSA, all non-exempt employees must be paid overtime compensation for each hour worked over 40 in a workweek. So, if tasks like booting up their computers or preparing equipment for the day push them over 40 hours, those employees are entitled to overtime pay.  Likewise, employees who clock out for lunch must be completely uninterrupted from their work duties if they are not paid during that lunch period.  If those employees perform any work during their lunch break, then the employer must compensate them, and if those hours push the employee over 40 for a workweek, then overtime is due.  Employers who violate FLSA rules must generally pay the employees unpaid back wages plus liquidated damages of double the amount owed.

Although only two out of the 300 Sunbelt Rental stores are listed in the lawsuit, attorney Allen Vaught suspects that almost every retail position in the company may be affected by the case, including positions such as drivers, assistant store managers, dispatchers and customer service representatives. 

“Many workers do not realize that their employer is not paying them fairly,” said Vaught, head of Baron and Budd’s overtime violations litigation section. “Employers cannot force, or even permit, workers to perform work ‘off-the-clock’ without pay.  Sadly, this tactic is more common than people might think by employers in an attempt to save money on employee wages.”

Vaught is also pursuing a similar class action lawsuit against Supermedia, Inc., formerly known as Idearc Inc., for negligently denying hundreds of inside sales employees overtime compensation over the past three years.  Supermedia, Inc. is a publicly traded company that is known as “one of the largest yellow pages directory publishers in the United States.”

For over 30 years, Baron and Budd has been strident in its commitment to fighting for what’s right.  The firm has extensive experience in interpreting the FLSA’s exemption requirements and aggressively pursues employers who don’t pay their workers for the overtime they have worked.

For more on FLSA requirements and the work of Baron and Budd attorney Allen Vaught, visit here.

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