CHICAGO — A group of college scout coordinators have reached a $1.6 million class action settlement with National Collegiate Scouting Association Inc. (NCSA). Last week, a federal court judge in Chicago approved their final settlement. According to the judge’s order, the scout coordinators’ claims were strong and the more cost-effective settlement outweighed the benefits to and defenses of NCSA in taking the case to trial. The lawsuit, brought in February 2013, was certified for class action status to include almost 300 employees who were allegedly misclassified and denied overtime pay.
The class includes all scouts and scout coordinators who worked for NCSA from February 2010 to December 2013. According to the judge’s order, none of the class members objected to the final settlement agreement. The near 300 class members will split just over $1 million from the settlement, after costs and attorney’s fees are covered.
The scout coordinators brought both a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and an Illinois state claim for minimum wage law violations. Scout coordinators and scouts allegedly received a weekly salary based on how many meetings they scheduled and sales. However, NCSA did not pay overtime when the coordinators worked more than 40 hours. It is likely that the scouts and scout coordinators were misclassified under the “exemption” for outside sales employees.
Outside sales employees can be exempt from overtime pay under FLSA if they meet two requirements. The first requirement is their primary responsibility of making sales or contracts for services. The second requirement is that they must regularly work outside of their employer’s place of business. Illinois state law has the same requirements, but includes an additional requirement. If an “outside” sales employee in Illinois spends more than 20% of their time doing non-sales activities then, regardless of whether the employee is paid by salary or commission, the employee is not exempt.
In this case, NCSA provides web-based software to match athletes with college athletic programs. The company’s scout coordinators facilitate meetings between potential customers and scouts who are trying to sell access to NCSA’s software system. So NCSA’s college scout coordinators do not actually appear to make any sales or fit any of the other three exempt categories — Executive, Administrative, and Professional. Scouts would make the actual sales after meeting with the potential customers. Even though it would appear that scouts would meet the exemption requirements, small details can make a significant difference in classifications.
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if your position is exempt or if your employer has misclassified your position. If you believe you have been wrongfully denied overtime, call our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795 to discuss your situation and learn your rights. Or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page and our top rated legal team will evaluate your case. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.