The City of Azusa in Los Angeles County, California, has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging the city used an illegal compensation method that resulted in city employees being unpaid for their overtime for three years.
The plaintiffs, two Azusa city workers, allege the California city used a “regular rate” of pay to compute compensation; however, using this rate resulted in unpaid overtime for the plaintiffs and other city workers.
According to the class action lawsuit, the City of Azusa violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when it computed overtime pay for its workers. Under the FSLA, overtime pay is calculated at one and one-half times the “regular rate” of pay for all hours of overtime worked. The plaintiffs say that the city impermissibly excluded certain remunerations or undervalued the “regular rate” of pay, resulting in unpaid overtime.
“As part of the compensation it provided Plaintiffs, Defendant paid Plaintiffs and other similarly situated individuals monetary compensation in lieu of contributing towards Defendant-provided health benefits coverage,” explains the unpaid overtime lawsuit. Additionally, the city provided compensation for spending less than the monthly allowance toward health benefit coverage.
But, says the complaint, the city excluded the remunerations it paid to city workers for health benefits when calculating the “regular rate” of pay for the purposes of overtime. However, these amounts were included as wages for tax purposes, say the plaintiffs, flying in the face of several FLSA regulations.
“Because the remunerations paid to Plaintiffs, and similarly situated individuals, in lieu of health benefits were not made for hours of non-work or, on information and belief, made pursuant to a bona benefit plan they must be included in the ‘regular rate’ of pay for determining overtime compensation as required by the FLSA,” alleges the City of Azusa unpaid overtime class action lawsuit.
The City of Azusa failed to include the health benefit remuneration when it calculated overtime pay for its workers, allege the class action plaintiffs. For three years, the city failed to include this remuneration in its calculation and, thus, failed to pay workers the FLSA-mandated one and one-half times the “regular rate” of pay for overtime work.
The plaintiffs seek to represent all City of Azusa workers who did not receive the correct overtime pay over the past three years. They are seeking recovery of the overtime pay plus interest as well as a court order forcing the City of Azusa to update their policy to comply with FLSA requirements.
Under California law, employees are entitled to additional pay work more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. The rate of pay for overtime work is 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly rate.
The employer must also pay the overtime rate for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek, and double the employee’s wages for all hours of work after the eighth hour. If an employee works more than 12 hours in a day, the employer must pay double the employee’s wages for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours.
Despite the law, some business and organizations fail to appropriately compensate their workers. It can be intimidating for an employee to take on their employer to get the compensation they are entitled to.
If you are working unpaid overtime, you should call an experienced employment law attorney. An experienced attorney can help determine if you should take legal action against your employer or begin an employment law class action lawsuit like the one described above.
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