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News | Jun 13, 2013

Federal Judge Conditionally Certifies Overtime Lawsuit Against HSG

An Ohio federal judge has conditionally certified an FLSA overtime rights case brought on behalf of Account Managers employed in Ohio by Healthcare Services Group, Inc.  The company is also commonly known as HSG.  In the lawsuit, the Account Managers alleged that the company misclassified them as exempt from the overtime laws.  The case citation is Cox v. Healthcare Services Group, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78290 (N.D. Ohio 2013).  Here is how the federal court summarized the facts:  “[HSG]  provides housekeeping and dietary management services in health care facilities across the country. Since 2010, HSG has provided services to 178 different health care facilities in Ohio alone. Plaintiff Joshua Cox is employed by Defendant as an Account Manager (“AM”). AMs work at facilities with which HSG has contracted to provide services, and there is a dispute in this case over their regular duties — Defendant argues they generally are responsible for “recruiting, training, supervising and managing housekeepers, janitors and, in some facilities, laundry workers at their facility, as well as labor and procurement budget management, inventory, regulatory compliance, and quality control”, while Plaintiff argues they primarily are engaged in “housekeeping, floor care and laundry duties” . Many AMs go through a training program, during which time one is considered a Manager in Training (“MIT”). While in the program, MITs perform housekeeping, laundry, and floor care duties at various HSG-contracted facilities.  Plaintiff alleges that AMs and MITs in Ohio perform non-exempt work under the FLSA, work in excess of forty hours per week, and are not paid overtime to which they are entitled under the  [*3] FLSA (id.). He alleges specifically that (1) despite HSG’s classification of MITs as non-exempt employees, it has a “uniform practice” of not paying MITs overtime; and (2) HSG misclassifies its AMs as exempt employees and fails to pay them overtime, despite the fact AMs primarily perform non-exempt work. The FLSA provides a private cause of action against an employer “by any one or more employees for and in behalf of himself or themselves and other employees similarly situated.” Collective actions brought by employees under the FLSA require putative class members to opt into the action, or generally termed, the “class.” The statutory standard for bringing a collective action under the FLSA is that the opt-in plaintiffs are “similarly situated.” “Similarly situated” does not mean plaintiffs need to be identical; however, it is the lead plaintiffs’ burden to show the opt-in plaintiffs are similarly situated to the lead plaintiffs.”  (internal citations omitted).  This Ohio overtime lawsuit is like many of the Pennsylvania overtime lawsuits that our firm brings on behalf of assistant managers, department managers, loan officers, retail assistants, and other workers who get fancy job titles but really spend most of their time doing the same work as hourly employees.  These cases are known as overtime misclassification lawsuits.  assistant manager overtime, department manager overtime, store manager overtime, retail overtime, loan officer overtime, assistant branch manager overtime, account manager overtime, sales manager overtime, account assistant overtime.

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