CHICAGO — Rural King, the Illinois-based farm and home store, is facing a wage and overtime pay lawsuit from its employees located at its corporate headquarters in Mattoon, Illinois. Six employees, including John Mayhouse, Virginia Slifer, and Kevin Wehrheim, filed their lawsuit in Illinois federal court earlier this year. The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial, back wages for unpaid overtime wages, and interest on the back wages from the date they were earned. The plaintiffs claim the company violated the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The Rural King Claim
The plaintiffs, current and former employees of Rural King, were primarily employed in information technology (IT) at Rural King’s corporate headquarters, though one of the plaintiffs worked in construction. The IT employees provided after-hours assistance for more than 70 stores in 10 states. Rural King classified its IT employees as salaried and exempt from overtime wages.
As “salaried” employees, the IT employees were regularly asked to work after hours, work from home, and return to work on short notice when the company needed IT assistance. They allege they frequently worked 10 hours at the corporate headquarters, which is where all IT assistance calls were directed. The same employees would then regularly work another 4 hours at home. The IT employees claim the company never compensated them for the additional time spent working.
The plaintiffs not only have their claims that they believe they were entitled to overtime and Rural King was violating the FLSA; they also have findings from a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) 2014 audit of Rural King. The DOL’s audit looked at Rural King’s records from April 2012 to April 2014. The DOL’s audit found that the IT personnel were entitled to overtime and that Rural King owed five employees about $20,000 in back wages. The five employees refused the $20,000 because it only represented the 5 hours of “mandatory” overtime per week. The IT personnel claim and are seeking compensation for not only the 5 hours of mandatory overtime, but the overtime they worked in addition to the mandatory time.
The state or federal department of labor will investigate a claim that an employer is violating wage laws and not compensating its employees properly. The investigation may or may not find that any violations occurred. But the findings will not necessarily prevent an employee from filing a lawsuit against the employer if the employee is not satisfied with the results.
Knowing when to bring a lawsuit or when to settle a complaint against an employer can depend on many factors. Our top rated team of overtime pay lawyers can help you evaluate your options before and during an investigation of your employer. Time is limited for filing wage and overtime complaints so it is important to call today! Our experienced legal team can be reached at (855) 754-2795 or by completing our Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form. 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.