MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of Alabama LLC production employee has filed a proposed overtime pay collective action in Alabama federal court. The employee claims the company refused to pay overtime for mandatory pre-shift exercise sessions in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The overtime claim dates back to at least 2012, although the proposed collective action seeks to include employees working at the Alabama Hyundai plant from 2011.
The Exercise Claim
Frank Bates, the production employee who filed this claim, alleges the Hyundai plant’s overtime violations stem from the required pre-work stretching sessions along with production meetings before each shift. Before each shift, employees attend a fifteen minute meetings to review production schedules. The meeting is followed by an exercise routine to prevent work-related injuries. The employees are required to clock in before these activities, which should mean they receive credit for the time, if the company is in compliance with FLSA requirements.
In fact, Bates claims that during the week, the time spent in the pre-shift activities is recorded like all other time worked and the employees receive regular wages for the time. But according to the claim, the company leaves the activities off of the payroll on Saturdays, even though the employees are still required to participate. Bates alleges the additional quarter hour or more of pre-shift time on weekends is removed from pay stubs once an employee reaches a 40 hour work week. By leaving the Saturday pre-shift activities off of the payroll, the company avoids paying potential overtime wages. Bates claims Hyundai saves about $500,000 each year by denying overtime wages for pre-shift activity pay on Saturdays.
Bates initially filed complaints with the plant’s human resources department. However, after the company failed to take any action to correct or address the situation and after filing his complaint with the relevant state and federal agencies, Bates filed this lawsuit. Bates estimates around 2,500 employees have been affected by the overtime violations.
Mandatory Activities And Overtime
The FLSA requires employers to pay employees for “all hours worked.” Occasionally, there is a question over what is or is not included in the term “all hours worked.” The general rule of thumb is that if the employer requires the activity and the activity is “integral” to the principal activity the employee is hired to perform, this activity should be counted. In this case, the pre-shift activities were mandatory to the extent that employees allegedly faced disciplinary actions if they did not take part in them. And the activities were arguably related, if not integral, to the work of production employees. More importantly, it does not make sense that Hyundai compensates the employees for the pre-shift activities during the week, but not on Saturdays.
Knowing what pre- and post-shift activities should be compensated can be confusing. But, if your employer inconsistently pays for these activities, or does not pay for the activities at all, you may have a claim for unpaid overtime wages. Our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers can help you evaluate your situation. Call us today at (855) 754-2795 to discuss your options. 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.