CHICAGO — The Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago recently handed down a favorable ruling to a group of plaintiffs trying to hold their employer accountable for failing to furnish them with overtime pay for the time they spent working over 40 hours in a week.
Epic Systems Corp. sought to throw out the lawsuit brought by a class of employees currently working for the Verona, Wisconsin-based tech company on the grounds the plaintiffs agreed to settle their claims via arbitration and forgo formal overtime pay lawsuits.
The case began in April 2014 when Epic Systems Corp. sent emails to only some of its technical writers informing them that, as a condition of their continuing employment, they must settle wage claims disputes via arbitration. By continuing to work at the company, the employees thereby consented to the agreement, according to the claim.
Hundreds of Workers Now Eligible to File Overtime Pay Lawsuits
This meant that the 250 employees still working at Epic would have been barred from utilizing overtime wage lawsuits to get the back wages they were owed. A U.S. District Court had already ruled the practice illegal, allowing the claim to continue. Epic then appealed that ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Chief Judge Barbara Crabb rebuffed the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case citing the National Labor Relations Act’s provision barring employers from interfering with an employee’s right to act with other workers for mutual aid and protection. The court interpreted the law’s provisions, holding that “joint, collective, or class legal remedies” do not need to be initiated by recognized union organizations.
The court effectively ruled the health records software company cannot force only certain groups of employees to sign arbitration agreements rescinding their right to legal remedies for employment disputes, including overtime pay lawsuits.
While the latest ruling is a major victory for workers all across the country facing similar circumstances, the case could ultimately end up in the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve the practice once and for all.
Filing an Overtime Pay 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 you and and other employees 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.