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William Macpherson and Leslie Saiers, On Behalf of v. Firth Rixson Limited and Firth Rixson

June 27, 2012

WILLIAM MACPHERSON AND LESLIE SAIERS, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHER EMPLOYEES SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
FIRTH RIXSON LIMITED AND FIRTH RIXSON, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles J. Siragusa United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

This is an action pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and the New York Labor Law ("NYLL"). Now before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion (Docket No. [#5]) seeking, inter alia, class certification of the NYLL claim under FRCP 23 and conditional certification of the FLSA collective action under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). The application for Rule 23 class certification is denied, and the application for conditional certification of the FLSA collective action is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

Defendants manufacture metal components for a variety of manufacturing applications. According to Plaintiffs, Firth Rixson Limited is a parent corporation and Firth Rixson, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary, but for purposes of this action Plaintiffs maintain that the two companies are a "single, integrated enterprise." This proposed class/collective action is brought by two former hourly employees who maintain that Defendants routinely failed to pay them and their co-workers for overtime work. Plaintiffs indicate that Defendants' established policies deprived them of overtime pay in two ways. First, Plaintiffs maintain that Defendants did not pay them for all hours recorded on their time sheets. In that regard, they state that Defendants set production goals that required employees to perform extra work before and after their regular shifts, but did not pay for such extra work. Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants automatically deducted 30-minute meal breaks from employees' hours, even when employees did not take such breaks, which deductions resulted in employees receiving less overtime pay than they would have if such breaks had not been deducted. Second, Plaintiffs contend that when Defendants did pay employees for overtime, they failed to pay at the correct rate. On this point, Plaintiffs maintain that Defendants paid less than the required rate of 1.5 times the employees' regular rate, because they did not include bonuses when calculating the regular pay rate.

Plaintiffs indicate that Defendants operate manufacturing plants at various locations in the United States, and this action purports to be brought on behalf of all "current and former hourly workers who worked for defendants at . . . locations throughout the United States." Complaint [#1] at ¶ 45. Presently, though, the only four employees who have opted into the FLSA action were all employed at one manufacturing plant located in Rochester, New York, which the parties refer to as "Monroe."

On March 30, 2012, Plaintiffs commenced this action. The same day, Plaintiffs filed the subject motion [#5] seeking class certification of the NYLL claim under FRCP 23, conditional certification of the FLSA collective action under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Plaintiffs also demand a list from Defendants of all employees described in the Complaint, to enable them to provide expedited notice to those employees.*fn1

In support of the applications, Plaintiffs submitted affidavits from the two named Plaintiffs, William Macpherson and Leslie Saiers, and from two other employees, Tricia Lee Goodwin and Todd Stiteler. The affidavits are essentially two-page, "cookie-cutter" affidavits containing the same general allegations. Specifically as to whether they were victims of a "common policy," Plaintiffs state that in 2005, Firth Rixson implemented a time-keeping system called "E-Time," and that Human Resources Director Mary Lindsay told each of them that "Firth Rixson's hourly employees company-wide would now use the same time keeping system because the company was implementing the same policy to determine what swipe time would actually be paid and what swipes would not be paid." See, Aff. of William Macpherson [#7-8] at ¶ 6.

In response to those affidavits, Defendants submitted an affidavit from Lindsay, who states the following: 1) She, along with Macpherson, Saiers, Goodwin and Stiteler, were all employed by Firth Rixson, Inc., otherwise know as "Monroe," in Rochester, New York; 2) in the United States there are "several" entities related to Firth Rixson, Inc. and Firth Rixson Limited, but neither of the Defendants has an ownership interest in them; 3) Monroe and each of the related entities have their own management and human resources personnel, and the "pay policies and practices vary widely among Monroe and the Related Entities," based on factors such as the preferences of the local human resources and payroll personnel and the facilities' production goals; 4) Monroe and the related entities have different policies regarding meal breaks; 5) although Monroe and the related entities all use the "E-Time" timekeeping system, they all implement it differently and customize it for their particular needs; 6) Monroe and the related entities have different policies regarding payment for "unapproved time," which is the time for which an employee is "clocked in" before or after their actual shift; and 7) bonus payments for Monroe employees were discretionary.

DISCUSSION

The FLSA and NYLL

Plaintiffs are seeking overtime pay under both the FLSA and the NYLL. The two statutes are similar:

The FLSA's overtime provision requires that employees receive compensation for hours worked in excess of forty hours per week at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed. The statute provides a two-year statute of limitations for actions to enforce its provisions except that a cause of action arising out of a willful violation may be commenced within three years after the cause of action accrued.

The New York Labor Law generally mirrors the guarantees and exemptions of the FLSA with regards to overtime pay. However, some employees exempt from the FLSA's overtime provisions are entitled to an overtime wage of at least one and one-half times the basic minimum hourly rate. Claims ...


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