Lawsuit: Employees at local factories owed money for attending company pre-shift meetings

Lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of 200 to 300 people.
Aaron Krause
Oct 15, 2013

Operators at Windsor Mold, USA, Inc.'s Bellevue plants are owed unpaid overtime and wages earned from attending mandatory pre-shift meetings for which they were not compensated dating back three years, a lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of 200 to 300 people who work at Precision Automotive Plastics and Auto Plas. The lawsuit was filed by Sandusky law firm Murray and Murray Co., L.P.A.

The suit claims that under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and Ohio law, the meetings must be counted toward the employee's accumulation of time worked. Therefore, the employees must be compensated at their regular pay rate -- and at the overtime pay rate if the employee worked more than 40 hours in the pay period because attendance was required, according to the lawsuit.

"The pre-shift meetings at issue begin 20 minutes before a shift is scheduled to take over operation of a plant, attendance is mandatory, and employees must be on-time," the lawsuit states. "Employees who arrive even a few minutes late are subject to disciplinary action, up to, and including termination. Yet, plant operators are specifically instructed not to include the 20 minutes spent in the pre-shift meeting on the sign-in sheet on which they calculate their wages. Consequently, plant operators are being routinely and regularly shorted for 20 minutes of pay for each shift worked. Worse yet, those whom the unpaid 20 minutes causes their workweek to exceed 40 hours, are being deprived of overtime pay at 1 1/2 times their base rate, as required by the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act).

"The action seeks such unpaid wages owed to the class of employees, a declaratory judgment that the meetings are compensable time, and an injunction to prevent future deprivation of wages for the required meetings."

Representatives at both plants said company officials had no comment on the lawsuit.

"I'm to tell you we have no comment," said a person who answered the phone at Precision, after putting a Reflector reporter on hold for a moment.

A representative at Autoplas, when asked whether plants officials had any comment, had this to say: "No, I don't think so. Good-bye."

Attorney Leslie Murray said the defendants have countered that they're paying them for time spent in the meetings, but not for their lunch time, which lasts 20 minutes. Murray referred to that time as not lunch but a "break."

The attorney said under a federal law, employers must pay workers for such breaks in work time.

"Bona fide meal periods are not worktime," Murray siid. "The bona fide meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period."

Murray said each of the 200 to 300 employees makes about $12 to $18 per hour and almost always work at least 40 hours a week. She alleges they're owed for time on average 20 minutes a day, five days a week for two to three years at time and a half.

Windsor Mold is owned by the Windsor Mold Group of Canada. Windsor Mold manufactures plastic molding parts used in the automotive industry and employs workers known as "plant operators," who assemble parts and operate equipment, such as presses and mold injection machinery.

Comments

bizzmachine1965

Pay up people, my buddy could use the money his job sucks!

truckin

So a lawyer rake this all up, deal made, everyone is out to get their employer, so many laws, boo hoo, lunch isn't long enough, show up a little early once a month, all for what? after lawyers??? maybe a grand?? then work will become very tense, management will be on the prowl for minor infractions. Employees will feel the hair on there neck every time they just stop to chat for a moment. I for one wouldn't want it. Especially if it's a workplace which "was" a little laid back on other areas. Good luck to all who think ONLY the mighty dollar is the answer.

deertracker

you must be a crooked business owner!

Contango

Re: "you must be a crooked business owner!"

Be kind, he's helping to fund your SSDI and Medicaid benefits.

deertracker

SSDI? Medicaid? Nice try, wrong guy! Funny though!

Contango

Re: "SSDI? Medicaid? Nice try, wrong guy!"

Nope, right guy. You're a welfare taker; no doubt about it.

deertracker

Keep tryin' pooh!

truckin

all i'm saying is life/job is a give an take. Look at Truckin, easy driving at times, downtown Chicago rush hr at times.. When paid by the mile?? thats the give-take.

deertracker

You lost me! They just want their money. Give them that and they will take it! There's your give and take!

truckin

Dude.. for what lil' there asking/gonna get is it worth all the job friction?? that's all i'm saying. just think of it. as a drvr/owner op., i have random drug test, if selected i get a notice and 24 hr to submit, no pay for my time.. so should i strike/hire lawyer with thousands of other drvrs? for a class suit which will do nothing more than put a few bucks in my pocket and a WHOLE lot in the lawyers.. These employees for a mere little show up early time occasionally, they will now have alot of on job friction.. LIFE too short, quit if it's so bad..

deertracker

How LONG does it take to pee? Doesn't matter what the amount. If you worked for it you should get it!

Now The Rest of...

You know the difference between lawyers and catfish, one is a bottom feeder and one is a fish.

Contango

Agree that they should have been paid for time at work.

On the other hand, too bad that the lawyers got their piece.

eriemom

I hear a lot of this now. Mandatory meetings seem to get paid, but mandatory training doesn't. Like when an employer sets up self-training modules that need to be completed in order to keep a job or get a measly raise. These are usually low wage jobs and the training must be completed in the building on the employees own time. I've heard of people going to work early, late, or on days off. Inevitable the employer "needs some (unpaid) help" while there.

dart340h1973

Autoplas is a decent place to work with decent pay {not the best}. The ones trying to sue are ones that lost their jobs for whatever reasons. Just do your job and no one has to worry.