Efforts by WHYY Inc. to obtain dismissal of allegations that claim it violated various state and federal labor laws were unsuccessful February 1, 2016 when a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled that the case should move forward. The plaintiff – a former Manager of Corporate Sponsorships and Manager of Corporate Affairs at the station – claims in a 2015 complaint that she routinely worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Because WHYY classified the employee as an exempt administrative employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA), the radio station did not pay the plaintiff overtime time-and-a-half wages.
U.S. Judge Cynthia M. Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that classification of the worker as exempt from overtime pay may have been erroneous. An exempt employee is considered one who performs non-manual or office work directly related to general business operations. Moreover, exempt employees must exercise discretion and independent judgment with regard to matters of significance, and make no less than $455 each week. Although the plaintiff conceded that she generally followed a fixed schedule of prices, the district judge declined WHYY’s invitation to infer that she could, by extension, depart from that schedule at her own discretion. Construing all allegations in favor of the employee as the non-moving party, Judge Rufe found that dismissal is not warranted.
The complaint alleges violations of not only the FLSA and the PMWA, but also the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, 10,496 instances of failure to pay overtime – as required by the FLSA – were enforced in 2015, resulting in awards of more than $137 million in back pay for employees. Government officials additionally maintain that 78% of employees who initiated an action under the FLSA last year were awarded back pay.
Philadelphia Wage and Hour Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Pursue Legal Action in Overtime Disputes
For over 40 years, our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates have represented workers who have been mistreated by their employers. If you or a loved one has been unfairly denied overtime pay after being falsely classified as an exempt employee, call 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation in our Philadelphia offices, where we serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey and New York.