Cell phone carrier T-Mobile has asked a judge to have an unpaid overtime lawsuit heard in federal court rather than in a California state court, where the case was initially filed.
Lawyers for T-Mobile , which is being sued by field technician Jesse Black for allegedly violating California wage and hour laws, maintain that the proposed class action lawsuit belongs in federal court per the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) of 2005.
CAFA gives United States district courts jurisdiction of class action civil suits with more than 100 presumed Class Members. CAFA also states that federal jurisdiction is proper if any Class Member is a citizen of a different state than the defendants and if the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, exclusive of interest and costs.
According to the unpaid overtime lawsuit filed by Black, T-Mobile violated California’s Business & Professions Code by failing to pay overtime, failing to provide meal breaks and rest periods, and failing to properly calculate overtime rates.
Black, who is seeking class action certification, is seeking in excess of $19 million, according to T-Mobile’s filing, dated July 21, 2017.
Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit Allegations
Between October 2008 and December 2015, Black, of Oakland, Calif., was a non-exempt, hourly employee classified as a Field Tech 2, Field Technician, and Senior Field Technician.
His responsibilities included monitoring, maintaining and upgrading cellular sites in the Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro, California areas.
By the end of his employment with T-Mobile, Black was being paid $38.53 per hour.
T-Mobile, according to Black’s unpaid overtime lawsuit, had a company-wide, rotating on-call policy that scheduled technicians to work on-call weeks.
During an on-call week, T-Mobile technicians had to be available 24/7 to respond to service calls, from Monday at 5:00 p.m. through Monday at 7:59 a.m. T-Mobile issued company cell phones or radios to the techs, requiring them to respond immediately while working an on-call week.
“Plaintiff and Class Members were in essence on controlled standby for Defendants because they could not use that time freely for their own purposes and were forced to put their lives on hold,” according to Black’s unpaid overtime lawsuit.
“For example, Plaintiff refrained from making plans altogether while ‘on-call’ because he knew that he had to drop whatever he was doing at a moment’s notice if he received a call. Defendants paid Plaintiff and Class Members a flat rate of $22.47 per day during an on-call week, plus hours they spent responding to service calls. However, Defendants failed to pay Plaintiff and Class Members for the remainder of time during which they were not free to use their time for their own purposes.”
Black maintains that T-Mobile also required the techs respond to and receive emergency calls, but did not compensate them for their time. Additionally, he alleges in the unpaid overtime lawsuit that the defendants did not schedule second meal periods and had no policy for permitting and authorizing its techs to take second meal periods on days that they worked more than 10 hours.
Black claims that he regularly worked 12 hours per day, but did not receive a second, uninterrupted 30-minute meal period on those days. As a result of T-Mobile’s scheduling practices and/or policies, employees routinely missed second meal periods, according to the unpaid overtime lawsuit.
Did Your Employer Violate Wage & Hour Laws?
If you believe you have experienced any of the following labor law violations, you may have a legal claim:
- Off-the-Clock Work
- Unpaid Wages
- Minimum Wage Violations
- Unpaid Overtime
- Missed Meals and Breaks
- Tip Pooling
- Donning and Doffing
- Employment Discrimination
By filing a wage and hour lawsuit, you may be able to seek compensation for the wages you were entitled to receive according to state labor laws. Obtain a FREE case evaluation by the wage and hour attorneys at Bradley/Grombacher by filling out the form on this page.
Note: Bradley/Grombacher is not representing the plaintiff in this lawsuit.