United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
MAX O. COGBURN, Jr., District Judge.
THIS MATTER is before the court on plaintiffs' Motion for Conditional Class Certification and Court Supervised Notice to Potential Opt-In Plaintiffs.
The FLSA's collective action mechanism serves the dual purpose of lowering litigation costs for individual plaintiffs, and decreasing the burden on the courts through "efficient resolution in one proceeding of common issues of law and fact arising from the same alleged discriminatory activity." Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. v. Sperling , 493 U.S. 165, 170 (1989). "These benefits... depend on employees receiving accurate and timely notice concerning the pendency of the collective action, so that they can make informed decisions about whether to participate." Id . Thus, the district court "has a managerial responsibility to oversee the joinder of additional parties to assure that the task is accomplished in an efficient and proper way." Id., at 170-71.
Having carefully considered the Motion for Conditional Class Certification under FLSA § 216(b) and defendants' objection, many of which are improperly merits based, the court finds that plaintiffs have shown that the putative class members were together the probable victims of a single decision, policy or plan. The named plaintiffs have brought forth substantial sworn allegations to meet the minimal conditional class certification standard and which support the allegations as set forth in the Complaint. More specifically, plaintiffs have presented evidence that, in their employment they are similarly situated inasmuch as: (1) plaintiffs have the same home-based job duties; and (2) are subject to the same policies and standards determining their compensation and performance requirements. The court will therefore, conditionally certify and order notice be sent to the class.
As to the notice, the court has also considered defendants' objections to plaintiffs' proposal and finds those objections to be meritorious. To avoid the appearance of improper endorsement of joining this action, the court will only permit notice via one first class mailing to each qualifying employee or former employee. As to timing, the court agrees that 90 days is too long and that a time period between 30 and 90 days is more appropriate. The court will set the deadline as October 15, 2014, which takes into account the possibility that defendants will need up two weeks to gather and deliver to plaintiffs' counsel a list of employees and their mailing addresses. The court expects respective counsel to work together in that process and provide the list in a format that is both convenient for defendants to produce and for plaintiffs to utilize. The "Consent to Join" is approved as proposed. Finally, plaintiffs have not shown a special need for disclosure of each employee's last four Social Security digits, and the court finds that defendants' production of names and mailing addresses (or last known mailing addresses) to be sufficient. The court approves the following notice:
NOTICE OF RIGHT TO JOIN LAWSUIT
TO: ALL HOURLY HOME-BASED CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVES WHO WERE EMPLOYED BY CONVERGYS CORPORATION AND/OR CONVERGYS CUSTOMER MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC., AT ANY TIME IN THE PAST THREE YEARS
RE: FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST CONVERGYS CORPORATION AND/OR CONVERGYS CUSTOMER MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC.
This Notice is to inform you about a lawsuit in which you might be able to make a claim for damages under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, to advise you of how your rights may be affected by this lawsuit, and to instruct you on the procedure for participating in this lawsuit, if you so choose.
2. DESCRIPTION OF THE LAWSUIT
On May 16, 2014, Ms. Carla Matthews, Ms. Lisa Worrills, and Mr. Gary Cosby, on behalf of themselves and others similarly-situated, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina against Convergys Corporation and Convergys Customer Management Group, Inc. The lawsuit alleges that Convergys Corporation and Convergys Customer Management Group, Inc. violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") by allegedly failing to pay its hourly customer service representative employees all wages owed, including overtime wages for work performed in excess of forty (40) hours per week. Plaintiffs allege that they are entitled to recover all unpaid wages for such work performed after May 16, 2011. Plaintiffs also seek an additional equal amount as liquidated damages, as well as attorneys' fees and costs. This litigation is currently in the early pretrial stage.
Convergys Corporation and Convergys Customer Management Group, Inc. have denied Plaintiffs' allegations that they violated the FLSA or failed to properly pay their employees for wages and overtime, and have further denied Plaintiffs' ...