Feldman Morgado, PA Achieves Conditional Class Certification in Nationwide Lawsuit on Behalf of Lowe's Employees

Legal victory paves the way for wage and hour proceedings.

Tampa, FL, April 11, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Attorneys for the Tampa, Florida federal trial and class action law firm of Feldman Morgado, PA announced that a Florida federal judge has granted a conditional class certification in January of 2014 in a nationwide class action overtime lawsuit the firm filed on behalf of Lowe's human resources managers, Lytle v. Lowe's Home Centers Inc.

The term “conditional class certification” refers to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) process by which employees are deemed “similarly situated” to the original plaintiff(s) in a lawsuit. If other employees can prove their cases are similar to the existing plaintiffs', they may be granted a conditional class certification. This legal tool allows "groups" to collectively pursue their goal of obtaining a fair legal outcome. Certifying the class allows the civil litigation process to continue so the court can rule on whether Lowe's violated the law by allegedly misclassifying its employees.

When pursuing a class action lawsuit under the FLSA, conditional class certification is often a key initial hurdle that must be achieved before the case can continue. To obtain conditional class certification in this case, the attorneys of Feldman Morgado, PA, worked with numerous Lowe’s employees to investigate managers’ job responsibilities, document real job duties in contrast to the duties listed in job descriptions and verify alleged 40+ weekly hours worked together with a lack of overtime pay. Feldman Morgado, PA, also contacted many of the approximately 1,745 Lowe’s human resource managers and built a sizeable opt-in class of plaintiffs as dictated by FLSA processes.

A Feldman Morgado, PA, attorney commented on the case: “Allegedly, this [misclassification] was done so the defendants would not have to pay their employees overtime. Allegedly, this decision was made at the highest corporate level, was wrong, and the actors knew it.”

The lawsuit (8:12-cv-01848), filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District Of Florida, alleges that the Lowe’s employees cannot accurately be described as managers due to the nature of their duties. The suit also alleges that the misclassification constitutes a willful effort to save money on the part of Lowes, by evading requirements laid out by the FLSA and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

In order for workers to be accurately classified as exempt, they must have the responsibility and authority to make important decisions and, often, to supervise employees. Allegedly, in the case of these Lowe’s human resources “managers,” however, the employees had no direct reports and were often required to greet and check out customers, clean bathrooms, and sweep and mop floors.

The damages claimed in the suit are extensive. In the complaint, Feldman Morgado, PA, attorneys alleged that the misclassification resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal labor expense savings for Lowe’s due to the withholding of overtime pay. And, allegedly because 401(k) contributions as a percentage of pay were reduced along with the reduced regular pay, the complaint also seeks to recover retirement pay damages under ERISA. The claim also seeks liquidated damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorneys’ fees, expenses and other compensation.

Lowe’s alleged violations “purposefully evade our country’s national wage and hour law,” according to Feldman Morgado, PA. Firm executives noted they are prepared to aggressively pursue the full financial compensation the plaintiffs are allegedly owed. For more information, please visit FloridaTrialAttorneys.net.
Feldman Morgado, P.A.
Mitch Feldman