OMAHA — Frederick Baglio, a former boiler operator for Omaha based meatpacking company Greater Omaha Packing Co., has recently filed a lawsuit against his former employer on grounds that he was subjected to violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
Baglio claims that while employed for Greater Omaha Packing Co., not only was he not paid for the daily half-hour lunch breaks that were entitled to him by law but he was never even able to take his state law required break due to company employment policy. Baglio’s lawsuit says this time culminated in 2.5 hours of unpaid work per week.
Greater Omaha Packing Co., carries a worker policy that requires boiler operators to be present and actively working in the boiler room whenever the boilers are operating. With the facility boilers operating in excess of 50 hours per week with no daily halts, Baglio was never permitted to leave the boiler room or be relieved of duty for breaks at any time during his shifts.
Although never able to be fully relieved of his duties to constitute a legal work break, Baglio claims that the company automatically clocks employees out for breaks they never take resulting in them working but never receiving compensation.
In response to these allegations, company attorney Mark Theisen has stated that Greater Omaha Packing Co., “categorically denies” the allegations. The company goes on to explain that Baglio never reported any concerns regarding breaks or payment while under employment with the company, with these allegations only coming since his employment with the company ended.
“We have a long history of treating our 1,000-plus team members with respect,” Theisen said. “In return for their dedication and hard work, we pay a fair wage, we provide food benefits for them and their families, and we provide a safe workplace.”
While Greater Omaha Packing Co., may refute the Baglio allegations, his lawsuit will continue to pursue legal action against the company on the grounds that “Omaha Packing knows or has shown reckless disregard for the requirements of the (Fair Labor Standards Act) and Department of Labor Regulations.”
Baglio will attempt to have his lawsuit classified as a class-action to recover unpaid wages and interest over three years for himself and his former co-workers in addition to legal costs and all damages allowed by law.
Important Nebraska Labor Laws
In accordance to a majority of U.S. states, Nebraska sets and enforces it’s own minimum wage requirement with a majority of other labor standards coming from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The state of Nebraska retains a comparatively high minimum wage which currently stands at $9.00 per hour, unless an employee is properly deemed as exempt. In addition to the state mandated minimum wage. all employees are required by Nebraska law to be given a 30 minute lunch break if a shift is scheduled to be over eight continuous hours.
Regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act, regulations regarding payment for overtime hours are routinely cited as the most susceptible to violation as they are difficult to detect without an initial employee complaint.
Under the FLSA all non-exempt employees are to be paid 150% of their standard wage for every hour they work above 40 in a standard 7-day work week. For a Nebraska worker, this means anytime they work more than 40 hours they are required to be paid at least $13.50 per hour.
If you were or are currently not being paid this wage for overtime work or are aware of any other labor violations being committed by your employer, contact (855) 754-2795 to begin an investigation into whether you may have the right to pursue legal action against your employer. A potential lawsuit could be filed to attempt to be awarded compensation for previously withheld wages and any other damages that are allowed by law.