Unpaid Wages & Overtime Pay: Employees Must be Paid for Pre & Post Shift Work

Employees must pay wages to employees when employees begin any work activity which starts the work day and for all work performed through the end of the work day. When an employee’s work day involves work at more than one work site and includes administrative duties, situations may arise where the employer unlawfully fails to pay employees for all work performed during the work day. Further, when the unpaid work time is added to the work for which employees are paid, in addition to claims for unpaid wages employees may also have claims for unpaid overtime pay at one and one-half times the employee’s hourly rate plus liquidated damages (double the actual overtime pay due), plus attorneys’ fees and costs. The unpaid work often takes the form of pre-shift or post-shift work relating to administrative activities required before an employee begins the principal work activity. Employees have successfully pursued these claims under both federal law, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); and state law, under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA), and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL). Opportunities also exist for employees to collectively pursue their claims in the form of a class action with multiple employees joining in the same lawsuit.

A recent case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania illustrates how employees can pursue these claims. In McGee v. Ann’s Choice, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75840 (E.D. Pa. June 4, 2014)(Schiller, J.), the lead plaintiff was employed as a certified nursing assistant. The employee filed a FLSA collective action for failure to pay overtime pay for post-shift activities, a PMWA class action for failure to pay overtime, and a WPCL class action for failure to pay employees all wages due. The employee filed claims on behalf of herself and other certified nursing assistants working for Ann’s Choice. Ultimately, 15 employees collectively pursued the case through the same law firm. The Plaintiff employees alleged that the employer had a regular practice whereby it permitted employees to regularly work more than forty hours a week, but employees were not paid for time spent outside of client’s residences where they performed the principal nursing activities. For instance, at the commencement of each work day, the employer required the nursing employees to report to a central office, make a phone call to confirm their arrival, gather their employer issued supplies, and review paperwork prior to the actual paid start of their shifts. However, the employees were not paid for their pre-shift work and were only paid for time spent in a patient’s residence. The Plaintiff employees were also not compensated for the post-shift time they spent delivering paperwork to the employer’s office. Employees spent about fifteen to twenty minutes per shift on uncompensated pre-shift activities and an additional ten to fifteen minutes per shift on uncompensated post-shift activities. When combined with the time for which they did receive compensation, much of the uncompensated time was in excess of forty hours per week, but the employer failed to pay the employee’s overtime pay.

In McGee, the publicly reported decision indicates rather than proceed with litigation the parties participated in a settlement conference and settled all claims for $45,000, including the employer’s payment of $15,544.43 for the employees’ attorneys’ fees and costs. The court approved the FLSA settlement finding that it was fair and reasonable to the employees.

Abramson Employment Law represents employees who have FLSA claims for unpaid wages and overtime pay. For more information see http://www.job-discrimination.com/lawyer-attorney-1126494.html

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Filed under Fair Labor Standards Act, Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law, Unpaid Overtime FLSA

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