Employment statutes at the federal and state levels require New Jersey employers to pay a minimum wage to their employees, and to pay overtime to many employees for work performed in excess of 40 hours per week. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets a nationwide minimum wage and rules for employees who are entitled to overtime pay. The New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (NJWHL) establishes similar standards within the state. If an employer fails to meet its legal obligations to pay regular and overtime wages, these statutes allow employees to bring lawsuits to recover back pay and other damages. Two recently filed New Jersey overtime lawsuits allege non-payment of wages by a major retail company. Baccicheti v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., No. 2:17-cv-10919, complaint (D.N.J., Nov. 3, 2017); Trapp v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., No. 2:17-cv-11067, complaint (D.N.J., Nov. 3, 2017).
As a general rule, the FLSA requires employers to pay non-exempt employees a rate of one-and-half times their regular wage for any hours worked in a week beyond the usual 40 hours. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). The statute includes numerous exceptions and exemptions from the overtime requirement, including anyone “employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity,” outside salespeople, certain agricultural employees, newspaper employees, and others. Id. at § 213(a). While it is impossible to generalize, it is probably fair to say that most “non-exempt” employees who are entitled to overtime pay are paid by the hour and work in a position that is subordinate to management.
Employers are prohibited from violating the overtime rules established by the FLSA. Id. at § 215(a)(2). The statute allows for fines of up to $10,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment for wage and hour violations, id. at § 216(a), although employees are often more interested in getting paid by their employers than punishing them. In addition to imposing administrative penalties, the FLSA allows employees to recover unpaid wages, liquidated damages in an equal amount, and equitable relief such as reinstatement or promotion. Id. at § 216(b).
The plaintiffs in Baccicheti and Trapp worked as department managers at stores owned and operated by the defendant in New Jersey. Both plaintiffs allege that they routinely worked more than 40-hour weeks. They state in their complaints that the defendant scheduled them to work 40-hour weeks, but an average work week lasted longer. They assert that they are not exempt from the FLSA’s overtime rules by pleading that their jobs did not “include managerial responsibilities, or the exercise of meaningful independent judgment and discretion.” Baccicheti, complaint at 3. The jobs mainly involved “manual work,” such as “ cleaning the store, folding clothes, building displays, and unloading freight.” Trapp, complaint at 3.
The plaintiffs allege that the defendant not only failed to pay overtime for hours worked but also “failed to maintain accurate and sufficient time records” and “only allowed Plaintiff to report a maximum of 40 hours worked per week.” Id. at 5. Each complaint asserts a single cause of action for unpaid overtime wages under the FLSA. The lawsuits seek declaratory judgments holding the defendant’s practices to be unlawful, along with unpaid wages, liquidated damages, interest, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
If you need to speak to an overtime lawyer about a dispute in New Jersey or New York, contact the Resnick Law Group today online, at 973-781-1204, or at 646-867-7997.
More Blog Posts:
The Rights of Unpaid Volunteers and Interns in New Jersey Employment Law, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, November 10, 2017
New Jersey Employee Misclassification Lawsuit Cites Obama-Era Overtime Rule, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, September 8, 2017
New York City Bans Employers from Asking About Salary History, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, July 14, 2017