Judge grants Conditional Certification of Collective Action in the Southern District of New York.
Sealock v. Covance Market Access Services, Inc. Case No.:1:17-cv-05857
As previously reported on this website, in Sealock v. Covance Market Access Services, Inc., on August 3, 2017, Lead Plaintiff Mr. Sealock, on behalf of himself and those similarly situated, filed a class and collective action lawsuit in United States District Court – Southern District of New York against his employer, Covance, Inc., alleging willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) including, but not limited to the failure of Defendant to compensate Plaintiff for overtime wages. The factual allegations of the case are referenced in our August 2017 blog post and are summarized as follows:
- The defendant, a global enterprise that provides drug development services, employed Plaintiff to work as a clinical research associate from July 28, 2016 through May 17, 2017, largely from his home in the Bronx, New York.
- Throughout his employment, Plaintiff’s primary duties consisted of monitoring clinical sites, studying supplies and medical data entry, updating study and regulatory documents, and closing out clinical sites;
- The defendant required Plaintiff to routinely work five days per week, starting his workday at 9:00 a.m. and ending between approximately 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., while rarely providing him with an uninterrupted break during each workday;
- Defendant paid Plaintiff a flat weekly salary of $1,384.61, which was intended to cover only the first forty ours that Plaintiff worked each week;
- Defendant paid and treated all of their clinical research associates in the same manner to maximize its profits and minimize its labor costs and overhead.
Straight-time rate, an amount equal to an employee’s base rate of pay, is particularly important because when a non-exempt employee works over forty hours in a work-week, the employer is required by law to pay the employee at 1.5x his/her straight-time rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of forty. The additional pay is called the overtime rate. In this case, Defendant paid Plaintiff at his straight-time rate of pay, $34.61, for the first forty hours he worked per week, but nothing additional for the two and one-half to five hours he worked beyond forty each week. Thus, Defendant violated the FLSA and the NYLL by intentionally failing to pay Plaintiff at any rate of pay, let alone at his overtime rate of $51.92, for those hours in excess of forty. Defendant further violated the NYLL by failing to provide Plaintiff with a wage statement that accurately listed his actual hours worked for that week and by failing to provide Plaintiff with a wage notice at the time of his hire.
Certification of Collective Action
In each collective and class action case, pursuant to the request of the plaintiff, the judge reviews the claims that the plaintiff brings forward alleging that there are additional workers in the same “class” (performing the same or similar duties) who have been victimized by the pattern, practice, and policy of the defendant that is in violation of the FLSA. After reviewing the facts of this case, District Judge Jesse M. Furman found that Plaintiffs met their burden of establishing that there are similarly situated potential class members. On May 18, 2018, the Honorable Jesse M. Furman granted “conditional certification” allowing the case to proceed as a collective action enabling any other workers who were not paid properly to join the lawsuit and seek redress for Defendant’s failure to pay them in accordance with the law.
If you or a person you know worked for the Defendant named in the lawsuit during the time period of August 3, 2011– present or has information that may be relevant to this case, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. as soon as possible through our website, www.employmentlawyernewyork.com, or any of our phone numbers: (516) 248-5550, (516) ABOGADO, and (212) 679-5000.