10 Most Expensive FLSA Overtime Lawsuits of 2016

Published

2016 was a whopper when it came to FLSA wage and hours lawsuits. The top 10 overtime-related lawsuits alone amounted to $403,950,000.

Big Mac

That’s the total fortune Brangelina (Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt) have amassed over their collective decades in the Hollywood spotlight (and now have to divide, since, well, they’re getting divorced). It’s the total income of the country of Tonga. It’s enough to buy every single man, woman, and child in the United States a Big Mac.

The sky-high numbers should come as no surprise to business owners, who find themselves in the crosshairs of a DOL crackdown on FLSA violations–especially when it comes to overtime. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said in a recent interview, “To address the scale of this problem, we will redouble our enforcement efforts and partnerships to ensure workers take home the wages they earned and deserve.”

In other words, the risk of an FLSA overtime lawsuit isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, with new FLSA regulations rolling out on December 1, 2016, which increase the number of overtime eligible employees by 4.2 million, plaintiff’s attorneys are poised to pounce on the opportunity.

Overtime cases already comprise 80 percent of FLSA lawsuits (in part because they are simpler and more lucrative to prosecute than discrimination cases), and the payouts of back wages and attorney fees, while not always as high as the numbers below, can quickly climb high enough to bankrupt a business, especially when a class action involving multiple employees is certified.

But the real kicker here? These lawsuits could have been avoided.

David Schlesinger of Nichols Kaster in Minneapolis says, “A lot of companies make a business decision to say, ‘We can cut corners on this, and we won’t get sued.'” But cutting corners on safeguards like time tracking and FLSA self-audits can end up being the most costly business decision of all.

Time tracking software ensures that overtime is being paid correctly, that policies about overtime are being applied uniformly, and that overtime costs themselves don’t come as a surprise. Self-audits of overtime practices and policies can reveal surprising oversights, especially in larger companies with multiple levels of management.

Oversights that can end in settlements like these:

1Company: FedEx
Settlement Amount: $240 Million
Violation: Unpaid overtime


2

Company: Walmart and Sam’s Club
Amount: $62.2 Million
Violation: Off-the-clock work, missed meal and rest breaks, and unpaid overtime.


3

Company: Los Angeles Children’s Hospital
Amount: $27 Million
Violation: Wages shorted, denied breaks, unpaid overtime


4

Company: Bank of America
Amount: $14 Million
Violation: Unpaid overtime


5

Company: Excel Direct
Amount: $13.5 Million
Violation: Denial of breaks, unpaid overtime, minimum wage violations


6

Company: BMO Nesbit Burns
Amount: $12 Million
Violation: Unpaid overtime


7

Company: Alorica Call Center
Amount: $9.25 Million
Violation: Underpaying employees, unpaid overtime


8

Company: Oil and Gas Pipeline Inspections Company
Amount: $9.2 Million
Violation: Unpaid overtime, payment of flat daily rate regardless of hours worked, no records of employee hours


9

Company: GNC
Amount: $9 Million
Violation: Work without pay, incomplete records of employee hours and pay


10

Company: Avis Budget Car Rental
Amount: $7.8 Million
Violation: Unpaid overtime


With accurate, complete records and better time tracking, these lawsuits could have been avoided–along with countless hours and millions of dollars in back wages, attorney’s fees, and penalties.
Don’t make the same mistake!

2