Overtime Class Action Case Conditionally Certified in Kansas City, Missouri

The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley with offices located in Kansas City and St. Louis represents Missouri employees in wage and hour litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Below is an analysis of a recent Kansas City, Missouri federal district court case.

In Mahmood v. Grantham University, Inc, Slip Copy (W.D. Mo 2011), the United States federal district court located in Kansas City, Missouri considered conditional certification of a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action. The FLSA requires that covered employers provide non-exempt employees with time and a half overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek. 29 U .S.C. § 207(a)(2).

In Mahmood, the plaintiff employees were admissions representatives for Grantham University. Plaintiffs regularly worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek but Defendant's management would amend worksheets to reflect a 40 hour workweek. Plaintiffs' unpaid overtime was primarily the result of work performed before and after regular work hours.

Defendant argued that the overtime work performed by Plaintiffs were worked under differing circumstances. However, the court noted that the Plaintiffs did not need to be identical but only needed to be sufficiently similar related to the nature of their claims. The court ruled that the allegations related to the common policies of the employer to regularly remove overtime hours from the employees' timecards was sufficient to establish a regular policy of the employer sufficient to establish a basis for conditional certification of the class.

The Defendants further noted that many of the employees held different job titles and that the class should be limited by job title. However, the court noted that "[r]egardless of what department they worked in, all Plaintiffs have asserted that other hourly employees were subject to the same policy of denial of overtime and timecard modification."

Defendant last futilely argued against conditional certification of the FLSA class because some employees were paid overtime compensation in the past. The court stated that it does "not doubt that the Defendant can show that it has paid overtime at some point in its existence. In fact, it would be somewhat shocking were that not the case." The fact that Defendant may have paid overtime at some time in the past is not a defense to a claim for unpaid overtime compensation under the FLSA. In its final analysis, the court conditionally certified a FLSA collective action. The sworn statements of the Plaintiffs were sufficient to establish the basis for conditional certification.

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