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Success Begins with 40+ Years of Combined Legal Experience

Some law firms dedicate a portion of their practice to wage and overtime rights lawsuits. Other firms represent both employers and workers. At Winebrake & Santillo, we only represent workers. And over 90% of our cases are in the area of wage and overtime law.

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Hospitality Case Study

Restaurants are allowed to pay servers, food runners, and bartenders an amount less than the minimum wage if certain legal requirements are met.  The problem is that restaurants often pay workers less than the minimum wage without meeting the legal requirements.  When this happens, our firm is here to help.

 

Under the law, restaurants can pay employees less than the minimum wage only if

(1) the employees have direct contact with restaurant customers

(2) the employees collect enough customer tips to push their earnings over the minimum wage

(3) none of the employees’ tips are shared (either individually or through a “tip pool”) with managers, expediters, or kitchen staff

(4) the employee does not spend over 20% of her time performing tasks not related to customer service.  If the restaurant violates any of these requirements, it must pay the full minimum wage.

Also, restaurants can violate the wage laws by engaging in conduct such as:  requiring servers to perform cleaning or other duties before or after the paid shift; failing to make extra overtime payments when employees work over 40 hours in a week; failing to pay overtime to salaried “assistant managers” who have few managerial responsibilities;  and, in Philadelphia and a few other cities and states, deducting tips to cover credit card fees.

Our firm has enjoyed great success representing restaurant employees in minimum wage lawsuits.  For example, in March 2013, a federal judge in Scranton, PA approved a $1.3 million settlement our firm obtained for servers employed at a chain of Red Robin hamburger restaurants in Pennsylvania.  In the lawsuit, we alleged that the restaurants violated the federal and state wage laws by requiring the servers to share tips with Expediters who primarily worked near the kitchen area.

Similarly, in November 2016, a federal Judge in Philadelphia, PA approved a $1.29 million settlement our firm obtained for servers and bartenders at several Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.  This lawsuit also concerned the allegation that servers and bartenders were required to share with Expediters who did not directly service customers.

Our firm currently is handling cases on behalf of many restaurant employees.  These cases range from a North Carolina lawsuit on behalf of over 1,000 International House of Pancakes servers who challenge the restaurant chain’s right to make them spend over 20% of their time performing non-tipped work to a Pennsylvania lawsuit challenging a Philadelphia restaurant’s right to require servers to “tip-out” kitchen employees at the end of the shift.

See Current Cases

Independent Contractors Case Study

Don’t be fooled.  Even if the boss made you sign an “independent contractor” agreement, you still may be entitled to valuable wage rights that protect “employees.” 

 

Many companies try to avoid the Nation’s wage laws by classifying workers as “independent contractors” rather than “employees.”  Under the law, whether you enjoy the rights of an “employee” depends on your actual work relationship with the company.  Many workers are “employees” under the law even though they signed written agreements or contracts that call them “contractors.”  The company wants you to believe that these contracts prevent you from asserting your legal rights.  Don’t be fooled.  If the company exerts significant control over your day-to-day work and otherwise treats you like an employee, then you may have the same legal rights as employees.

Our firm has recovered millions of dollars for workers who have alleged that they are legal “employees” even though they signed “independent contractor” agreements and contracts.  Many of our clients have worked in the following industries:  cable installation; satellite disk installation; package delivery; furniture and appliance delivery; food product delivery; retail merchandising; exotic dancing; and services related to the fracking industry.

For example, working with various co-counsel, our firm recently reached an $8.35 million settlement on behalf of Ohio workers who worked as package delivery drivers for FedEx Ground Package System prior to July 2009.  All of the drivers signed independent contractor contracts.  However, in the lawsuit, the drivers alleged that they should have been treated as “employees” because FedEx exerted substantial control over their day-to-day work.  The drivers sought the reimbursement for many of the pay “deductions” that were made to their weekly pay.  In March 2017, a federal judge in South Bend, IN will decide whether to approve this settlement.

The FedEx settlement is just one of many examples of our firm’s success in representing workers misclassified is independent contractors:  Other recent examples include:  $2.85 million for a class of Massachusetts food delivery drivers; $350,000 for a group of satellite dish installers from Southeastern PA;  $282,500 for a group of exotic dancers at an Allentown, PA adult entertainment club;  $137,500 for a group of workers who performed manual labor at Pennsylvania natural gas rigs;  $85,000 for several Northeastern PA satellite dish installers;  $60,000 for an Allentown, PA appliance delivery driver; and $15,000 for two satellite dish installers in Luzerne County, PA.

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Home Health Case Study

Many home health companies violate the wage and hour rights of their workers.  Over the years, our firm has recovered unpaid wages for hundreds of home health employees.

 

Home Health Aids, Caregivers, Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs), Visiting Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs), and Therapists are often paid an hourly wage (for example, $10 per hour) but do not receive extra “time and one-half” overtime pay when they work over 40 hours in a week.  Instead, they just get paid straight-time for their overtime work.  This is almost always illegal.

Other home health workers – especially Visiting Nurses, LPNs, RNs, and Therapists – are paid “by the visit.”  These employees are led to believe that they are not entitled to overtime pay because they are not paid an hourly wage.  This belief is often mistaken.  In fact, many home health employees are entitled to overtime pay even if they are paid by the visit.

In addition, many home health employees are not paid for the time they spend driving between clients’ homes or for the time they spend preparing charts or other “paperwork” from home at the end of the day.  Employees generally are entitled to be paid for all client-to-client travel time and for time spent working from home.

Here are a few examples of our firm’s successes representing home health employees:  $300,000 for Home Health Aids and CNAs employed by a Pittsburgh, PA home health company; $3 million for Visiting Nurses employed by a multi-state  $24,300 for a home health aid in Lebanon County, PA; $2.34 million for Pennsylvania Home Health Aids and CNAs employed by a national home health provider; $145,000 for home health aids employed by a Luzerne County, PA home health company; $40,000 for employees of a Bucks County, PA home health company; $67,500 for a group of Behavioral Therapists working for a Montgomery County, PA psychiatric care provider; $60,000 for Caregivers employed by a Gaithersburg, MD home health company; $90,000 for Case Managers employed by a Chester County, PA mental health provider; $125,000 for a group of Allentown, PA Home Health Aids

 

See Current Cases

Salaried Employees Case Study

Many employees mistakenly believe that are not entitled to overtime pay just because they are paid a salary.  This is wrong.  In fact, millions of salaried employees are entitled to extra overtime pay when they work over 40 hours per week.  

 

Whether a salaried employee is entitled to overtime is based on what she does, not her job title.  Salaried employees who generally perform the same type of work as their hourly co-workers are usually entitled to overtime pay.  Don’t be fooled.  Your right to overtime pay does not depend on having a fancy job title such as “Manager” or “Supervisor.”

Also, if your employer wants to treat you as exempt from the overtime laws, it generally cannot make deductions to your salary just because you do not work all of your scheduled hours.  You are generally entitled to your entire salary during every week or pay period.  If the company docks you salary, then it might lose the right to treat you as overtime-exempt.

In addition, even when companies pay overtime to salaried employees, they often cheat their employees by miscalculating the amount of overtime owed.  In Pennsylvania, salaried employees eligible for overtime must receive full “time-and one-half” pay for every overtime hour.  For example, an employee earning a $500 weekly salary, should receive an extra $30 [($500 / 40) X 1.5] for every hour worked over 40.  Yet, many Pennsylvania employers violate the law by using a “half-time” method to calculate the overtime owed to salaried employees.

Our firm has had great success representing salaried employees who either were treated as “exempt” from the overtime laws or had their overtime pay miscalculated.  Here are some – but not nearly all – examples of the results we have obtained:  $20.9 million for salaried Assistant Store Managers who were classified as overtime-exempt by a national drug store chain;  $11.5 million for salaried Assistant Branch Managers who were classified as overtime-exempt by a large retail bank;  $8 million for Pennsylvania and Ohio retail Assistant Department Managers who received half-time pay instead of full time and one half pay;  $4.5 million for salaried Department Managers employed at a multi-site grocery store chain and paid half-tome for their overtime work;  $2.3 million for salaried Store Managers working at a chain of Colorado discount stores and classified as overtime-exempt;  $75,000 for salaried Mentors who were classified as overtime-exempt by a Philadelphia social services agency;  $627,500 for salaried Account Managers who worked in Pennsylvania and were classified as overtime-exempt by a company that provided custodial services to nursing homes;  $400,000 for salaried Field Service Managers classified as overtime exempt by a national automotive inventory control company;  $500,000 for retail Store Managers who worked in Pennsylvania and only received half-time pay for their overtime work;  $311,000 for a group of salaried retail employees who held various job titles and only received half-time pay for their overtime work; $490,000 for salaried Service Representatives who worked in Pennsylvania for a large lawn care company and only received half-time pay for their overtime work;  $505,000 for Assistant Branch Managers classified as overtime-exempt and working for a Pennsylvania bank;  $575,000 for retail Assistant Managers who worked in Pennsylvania and only received half-time pay for their overtime work  $110,000 for salaried convenience Store Managers and Assistant Store Managers who worked in Northeastern Pennsylvania only received half-time pay for their overtime work;  $87,500 for salaried Intensive Care Managers who worked for a Pennsylvania/Delaware mental health provider and were treated as overtime-exempt;   $66,000 to salaried Case Managers who were treated as overtime-exempt by a Philadelphia behavioral health provider;  $489,000 for salaried Implementation Consultants who were classified as overtime-exempt by a New York business software company;  $85,000 to salaried Admissions Representatives who were treated as overtime-exempt by a Southeastern Pennsylvania trade school; $300,000 for Store Managers and Assistant Store Managers employed in Pennsylvania by a chain of discount shoe stores and only paid half-time for their overtime work.

See Current Cases

Hourly Employees Case Study

Many hourly employees do not receive credit for all of the time they spend working for their company.  Sometimes this is called working “off the clock.”

Companies generally are required to pay employees for all the time they spend performing activities that benefit the company.  Our law firm has recovered millions of dollars for hourly employees who perform work “off-the-clock.”  Here are some examples:

Our firm has been involved in some of the Nation’s largest settlements on behalf of workers who allege that they were illegally denied for time spent at the beginning and end of the shift gathering, putting on, and taking off work-related gear and equipment.  Examples include:  nationwide settlements against two of the country’s largest poultry companies totaling over $46 million; over $2.75 million for Mississippi poultry workers; over $1.5 million for Bradford and Luzerne County, PA meatpackers;  $1.3 million for workers at a Montgomery County, PA pork plant;  $320,000 for Dauphin County, PA beef processing workers;  over $300,000 for workers at egg processing plants in Minnesota and Nebraska; $100,000 for Ohio poultry workers.

Our firm also has recovered wages for call center operators who were not paid for all the time spent booting up their computers and logging into computer programs at the beginning of their shifts.  For example, we recovered $475,000 for a group of Ohio call center employees and $145,000 for a group of Nashville, TN call center employees.

We also have represented workers who were not paid for time spent attending pre-shift meetings.  For example, we recovered $375,000 for prison guards in Norristown, PA, $81,000 for prison guards IN Scranton, PA, and $110,000 for prison guards in Allentown, PA.  In all of these cases, the guards alleged that they were denied pay for time spent in pre-shift meetings.  In a similar case, we recovered $222,000 for a group of Hazleton, PA warehouse workers who were not spent for the time they spent attending pre-shift meetings and gathering inventory control devices.

Our firm’s lawsuits seeking payment for off-the-clock come in many varieties.  More examples include:  $1.55 million for a nationwide group of retail merchandisers who were not paid for the time they spent traveling between retail stores; $47,000 for a small group of Pennsylvania sales representatives who regularly worked through their lunch break; and $67,000 for a small group of Pennsylvania behavioral health therapists who were not paid for time spent doing paperwork at home.

See Current Cases

"Would Definitely Use Andy Santillo Again"

Could not ask for better representation. Won my case for me. Was not an easy one for him. Constantly kept me up to date on everything going on. Had a very good client/friendly relationship with Andy. Would definitely use him again if needed.

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