CBS Settles Overtime Complaint for $10M

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. August 24, 2018
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​Overtime lawsuits can be costly, even if settled without any admission of a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or state law, a recent $10 million agreement with CBS Television Studios shows.

A class of parking production assistants, who kept the production site clear of pedestrians and motorists and who safeguarded production vehicles and equipment while they were on set, argued that they were paid by a shift rate of pay but were not compensated properly for overtime hours worked. Paychecks did not accurately reflect agreed-upon rates of pay or the hours actually worked by each plaintiff, they maintained.

CBS Television Studios agreed to pay $9.98 million to resolve the complaint, Law360 reported. CBS denied liability in the settlement and said in a statement, "The parties have reached an agreement that they believe is a fair and reasonable settlement of the claims."

We've rounded up the latest news articles on overtime lawsuits. Here are SHRM Online resources and news articles from other trusted media outlets.

NBC, ABC Have Reached Similar Settlements

A similar $4.3 million deal was reached by NBCUniversal Media and preliminarily approved in February. That settlement resolved two separate cases alleging wage and hour violations by not paying overtime to parking production assistants. In a separate settlement, ABC and Marvel Television Inc. agreed last year to pay $1.75 million to resolve claims that it didn't pay overtime to set workers. These workers said that they were paid a fixed amount per day rather than an hourly wage, meaning they didn't receive overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a week. ABC and Marvel issued a joint statement that, "We are pleased to have reached a settlement that is fair and reasonable to all parties." NBC declined to comment.

(Law 360 and Bloomberg Law)

Wage and Hour Settlements Keep Rising

Wage and hour settlements rose the past two years to a combined value of $1.2 billion, according to Gerald Maatman Jr., an attorney with Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago and New York City, and author of a report on class-action lawsuits in 2017. Common wage and hour mistakes include exemption classification errors, misclassifying gig workers and failing to satisfy state law requirements. "A dollar spent on risk management and compliance is better than a dollar spent on settling a class-action lawsuit," he said.

(SHRM Online)

[SHRM members-only form: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemption questionnaire]

Top 10 Most Expensive FLSA Overtime Lawsuits of 2017

The top 10 most costly FLSA overtime lawsuits last year came to a total of $180 million in settlements. The wage and hour lawsuits often didn't just involve claims of unpaid overtime though. Sometimes they also were paired with claims of minimum wage violations, work without pay, shortened wages, missed meal and rest breaks, unpaid wages, and unpaid compensation for call-in shifts.

(Tsheets blog)

Overtime Rule Changes Are Expected

The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it will issue a proposed rule to recommend a new salary threshold for the FLSA's white-collar exemption from overtime pay, but that isn't likely until January 2019. The decision's proposed threshold will be informed by comments the department received from its July 2017 request for information. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) supports an increase to the exempt salary threshold but has said that the Obama administration's rule, blocked by a court, would have raised it by too much, too fast.

(SHRM Online)

Could 2016 Rule Return?

If the DOL fails to issue a new final rule before the 2020 elections, and if the Democrats retake the presidency, the rule that was struck down in 2016 could come back to life. "If Democrats win the presidency without a new final rule in place, expect the new administration's DOL to vigorously defend the [previously] proposed salary level," said Tammy McCutchen, an attorney with Littler in Washington, D.C., speaking at the SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., in March.

(SHRM Online)

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