The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Liberty Medical Supply. They get the award for the following.
On the eve of a class-action trial that begins today in Fort Pierce, U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore issued an order that said Liberty's policy of docking 30-minute lunches from all employees' pay - even if they took no lunch breaks or shorter lunch breaks - resulted in undercounting overtime hours.Spin, spin, spin. I've seen employers threaten and intimidate employees who didn't go along. Case in point, my sister-in-law's former employer a Nursing Home. They bounced a payroll check and when she protested, the supervisor threatened by saying she'd call immigration!(My SIL was a legal and permanent resident alien in the US at the time) My wife and I got threatened to contact an attorney and the nursing home back off but not before giving my SIL a second bad check!
That constitutes a willful violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and gives the workers the right to collect unpaid wages going back three years, Moore ruled.
Mark Cullen, a West Palm Beach-based lawyer representing the class of 292 workers, estimated the damages at about $340,000 - and Liberty would be required to pay double that because the judge found it willfully violated the law.
Liberty, owned by Wakefield, Mass.-based PolyMedica Corp. (Nasdaq: PLMD, $40.27), did not comment on the ruling issued late Monday afternoon, but the company issued this statement earlier in the day:
"Liberty places a premium on the work of its team members, compensates its employees fairly and has meritorious defenses to the allegations in this case.
"The fact that only a small percentage of Liberty's past and present team members are participating in this collective action is a testament to the positive work environment Liberty provides for its team members."
Liberty has claimed there was nothing inherently unlawful about the lunch policy and that employees were given several chances to alter their time cards if they did not take a full lunch.
This company is going to wish they didn't try cheating their employees when the tab is all totalled up. But first for abusing their employees, Liberty Medical Supply is made today's Knucklehead of the Day.
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