NEWARK — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently ruled that a class action unpaid overtime lawsuit brought by a group of certified nursing assistants against their employer may proceed despite the defendant maintaining that the case should be handled under arbitration agreements signed by the nurses. The ruling marks a significant victory for the plaintiffs and other professionals around the country who often find themselves hamstrung by clauses in collective bargaining agreements designed to keep defendants out of court after violating the law.
Originally filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in 2013, the lawsuit alleged certified nursing assistants working for Alaris Health at Cherry Hill in Cherry Hill, New Jersey did not receive all their due wages for hours spent on the job. The claimants allege the defendants automatically deducted a 30-minute meal break period from the workers’ timesheets regardless of whether these employees worked through their shifts, as the nurses often did.
Furthermore, the plaintiffs claim the defendant failed to include certain wage differentials when calculating overtime pay. The claimants presented evidence their paychecks did not include overtime calculations showing “shift differentials” for working certain hours or “raise differentials” for pay increases. The lawsuit asks for back pay on all unpaid wages with interest, liquidated damages, and an oversight injunction to ensure the defendant refrains from engaging in future wage theft practices.
Overtime Lawsuit Survives Forced Arbitration Challenge
Fortunately for the plaintiffs, the Appeals Court determined the case could proceed to trial at the lower District Court level. In its opinion, the court explained that FLSA lawsuits may be remanded to forced arbitration clauses if the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) clearly waives the employee’s right to trial and if the federal statute allows for such an action.
The court ruled that in absence of language in the CBA requiring arbitration, federal courts may hear claims depending on the “disputed interpretation of a CBA provision.” The court determined interpretations to the CBA were factual arguments and should be taken up at trial.
Certified Nurse Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.
Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.