Laura Symczyk worked as a registered nurse at a retirement home in 2007. She alleged in a lawsuit she filed that her employer, the operator of the nursing home, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by deducting meal breaks from the workers’ pay regardless of whether or not they worked during the meal period. Her lawsuit sought back pay for herself and all similarly-situated workers at the nursing home.
However, before the employer formally petitioned for class certification, the defendant made an offer of judgment offering her the amount of her back pay, attorneys fees and costs. The offer of judgment was not responded to and the employer, Genesis Healthcare Corp., moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The district court agreed and dismissed the case. However, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed finding that the offer of judgment did not address the potential class members.
This case is now on appeal to the United States Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court finds that this tactic allows the case to be dismissed, it will frustrate the purpose of the FLSA. Unfortunately, oftentimes the back wages due do not justify the cost and fees being incurred by a plaintiff’s lawyer to rectify the wrong that the employer has benefited from financially. The FLSA provides a beneficial and fair way to bring a case involving multiple employees to recover the fair wages they are due. If you or a family member has been wrongfully denied wages for overtime or for work actually performed, it is imperative that you speak to an Arkansas employment lawyer to discuss how to recover those lost wages.