A group of present and former corrections officers in Nashville will be seeing a nice bump in their next paycheck. Officers with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office filed several wage claims against the county. Their case was filed in part under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Wage Claims and the FLSA
Passed in 1938, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act protects workers in a variety of ways. Among other the things, the law insures that workers receive at least minimum wage and that they are paid for all hours worked. It also insures workers receive premium pay (time and one half) if they work more than 40 hours in an 8-hour week.
The FLSA was passed just as America was beginning to come out of the Great Depression. Back then, the unemployment rate had climbed as high as 23%. Although many workers were grateful to have jobs, some employers took advantage of the situation and severely exploited their workers. People were afraid to speak up for fear of losing their job.
Over the last 78 years Congress has tinkered with the law and many workers now find themselves exempt from the overtime provisions. A few folks, like farm hands on small family farms, are not even guaranteed minimum wage. Corrections officers, however, are not exempt. The officers in metropolitan Nashville (Davidson County) are no exception.
Under the Act, employees are entitled to double damages and legal fees. Workers are also protected against retaliation for filing wage claims.
Corrections Officers Wage Claims Against the County
The case was filed in 2011 by Vonda Noel. She filed her wage claims case on behalf of all other officers. These actions are called collective or class actions.
In addition to the FLSA claims, Officer Noel also claimed that the wages paid to the officers were lower than what were promised under their negotiated pay plan.
Most FLSA cases settle quickly since the employer is on the hook for legal fees if workers win. This case went to a jury trial last year. Although the county lost, there were several mediation sessions post trial to determine damages. In March, the officers agreed to a $2,099,936.25 settlement. The settlement was later approved by the metropolitan government.
If you believe that you have been illegally denied proper pay or overtime, you may have a claim. Because FLSA claims provide for attorney’s fees, we never charge for our services unless we recover money on your behalf. Even if you are salaried or classified by your employer as “exempt,” we may be able to help.
Many employers improperly classify workers as managers or professionals simply to skirt overtime laws. We understand the law and will fight to get you all the pay and benefits for which you are entitled.
Need more information? Contact attorney Katherine Holiday at or by telephone at (414) 258-2375. All inquiries are confidential and protected by the attorney – client privilege. You can also visit our FLSA information page.
Collective and class cases taken in many jurisdictions across the United States.
MahanyLaw – America’s FLSA, Overtime and Wage Claim Lawyers.