class action filed against Alabama company for FLSA overtime violations
A lawsuit filed by employees against Buffalo Rock Co. of Birmingham, Alabama has been certified as a class action lawsuit, according to a report in the Birmingham News. Workers filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Birmingham in 2007, alleging the company’s failure to compensate some of its sales and delivery employees for overtime work.
Buffalo Rock is one of the country’s largest privately owned Pepsi-Cola bottlers with 14 distribution centers in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Its distribution area covers a population of 6.5 million.
Employees represented by the suit contend that Buffalo Rock violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when it failed to pay them and others in the company for work performed over the regular 40 hour work week.
“Buffalo Rock knowingly, intentionally and willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay plaintiffs and all similarly situated employees the overtime compensation to which defendant Buffalo Rock knew they were entitled,” the lawsuit says.
Buffalo Rock maintains that the FLSA’s overtime clause doesn’t apply to the overtime hours clocked by the workers represented by the lawsuit.
Provisions for overtime pay are a common basis for many lawsuits citing FLSA violations. FLSA regulations exempt certain workers, such as executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees, from overtime. However, according to the Department of Labor, “employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week.” Misclassification of employees, unclear employment agreements, or simple misunderstanding of the law are common violations of FLSA provisions.