The Third Circuit has affirmed the denial of a motion to dismiss or stay a lawsuit, whereby a group of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in New Jersey allege violations of their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The CNAs, who were employed at the same skilled nursing facility, claim that they were unlawfully denied overtime pay and meal breaks. The case is now poised to proceed to trial.
The case was initially filed in 2013, when three CNAs employed at Alaris Health in Cherry Hill, New Jersey alleged that their employer’s parent company failed to pay them overtime pay, and that they were only rarely permitted to take meal breaks because the facility was so understaffed. The plaintiffs further claim that half-hour meal breaks were automatically deducted from their total hours worked, even if they were not permitted to take a break, or were interrupted during mealtimes to return to work. Their complaint also alleges that they were not being paid for overtime during weeks in which they worked more than 40 hours. The plaintiffs made these claims on behalf of themselves, as well as the entire class of CNAs employed at Alaris between 2010 and 2013.
The defendant parent company, Silver Care, asserts that the CNAs’ union negotiated a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that requires these types of disputes to be resolved by an arbitrator. When the plaintiffs elected to file their case in federal court, Silver Care moved to dismiss.
The District Court disagreed with the defendant, finding that although interpretation of the terms of the CBA is a factual dispute, the plaintiff’s claims regarding FLSA violations did not depend on disputed interpretations of CBA provisions such that arbitration is necessary. The Third Circuit recently affirmed, also finding that the dispute did not need to be resolved through arbitration.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Represent Clients in Overtime Disputes
If you suspect that you have been wrongfully denied overtime pay, you may have a valid claim. Schedule a consultation with a Philadelphia overtime dispute lawyer at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. by calling 215-574-0600 to discuss your legal options or contact us online today.