COLUMBIA — A former employee for Richland 1 School District in South Carolina recently filed a lawsuit alleging her employer fired her for repeatedly questioning the organization’s decisions to intentionally misclassify workers as overtime exempt. The lawsuit seeks $5.6 million in damages from the school district and may have an important impact on any unpaid overtime lawsuit the affected school workers may choose to file.
According to the complaint, the Richland 1 school district owes as many as four-dozen employees for months of unpaid overtime after the organization intentionally misclassified these individuals over a year ago. The lawsuit states the workers were never paid for their earnings and have been due for such payments for a significant period of time.
The plaintiff claims the defendant illegally terminated her employment after continuously taking issue with the school district’s decision to reclassify 46 employees as overtime exempt. The lawsuit claims the school district’s superintendent characterized the plaintiff’s behavior as overstepping her authority. The lawsuit further claims the school district paid an estimated $78,000 in fines to settle similar wage theft allegations in 2006.
While the plaintiff’s claim only seeks compensation to recover damages over her allegedly illegal termination, the facts surrounding the case are important because federal wage and labor laws protect employees from retaliation for engaging in protected activities. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers may not fire employees for reporting violations of the FLSA, including filing lawsuits.
The FLSA affords overtime wages to nearly all hourly wage earners. Only certain classes of employees may be overtime exempt and paid a flat salary. Often times, employers intentionally misclassify workers as overtime exempt and give these employees titles such as “manager” or “supervisor” but do not require these individuals perform any of the duties consistent with what the FLSA expects.
Workers with questions about their overtime exempt status should strongly consider speaking to an experienced overtime pay attorney about their case. The FLSA allows wage theft victims to file lawsuit to recover back pay, interest on unpaid wages, penalties, and attorneys fees to cover the cost of litigation.
School District 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 believe 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.