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Florida workers could join lawsuit over unpaid overtime

Most people assume that if they are going to complete work for their employee, they will be compensated for such work. However, employees at a national chain specializing in products costing only $1 say their employer frequently failed to pay them for overtime. Employees in Florida could join in a lawsuit attempting to recover wages if a judge allows the case to proceed as a class action lawsuit.

Over 6,000 employees of the discount chain store allege that, although they were scheduled to work fewer than 40 hours a week in order to avoid overtime pay, they were frequently expected to work through unpaid lunches and breaks. Their lawsuit seeks compensation for this work. Employees allege the chain is able to maintain low prices because of the unpaid work.

The first major issue, however, is not whether or not these allegations are true. Lawyers representing the employees must prove that the circumstances surrounding the thousands of employees are similar enough the warrant grouping all the complaints into a single class action suit. If their request of a class action suit is denied, the amount a single person stands to gain through a court case may not be enough the warrant legal action.

The current case stems from a lawsuit originating in Florida before it was moved to a federal court in a different state. Regardless, it is clear that employees in the chain will anxiously await the decision of the court regarding a class action suit in order to best understand their chances of recovering their unpaid overtime wages. It if allegations are true, it is unfortunate that a business would put their profit over the interests of the employees who are most responsible for the success of the company.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, "Dollar Tree employees sue over 'off the clock' work," Carolyn Shapiro, April 8, 2013

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