Conditional Certification of FLSA Claim Granted for Employees of Seasons Corner Market

A U.S. District Court judge for the District of Massachusetts has granted a motion for conditional certification of FLSA claims brought against Seasons Corner Market for unlawfully rounding employees’ time worked.

United States District Court of Massachusetts

SUMMARY: (court decision – opens in PDF)

“This is a putative collective and class action brought for nonpayment of wages to cashiers and assistant managers working at Seasons Corner Market convenience stores in Massachusetts. Plaintiff Joshalyn Darden alleges that defendants Colbea Enterprises, L.L.C. and Andrew Delli Carpini violated the Massachusetts Wage Act, M.G.L.c. 149, §§148, 150 and M.G.L.c. 151, §15, by failing to pay her and other potential class members wages for time worked and by failing to issue pay stubs that accurately reflect the total number of hours worked. Darden also alleges that the defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (‘FLSA’), 29 U.S.C. §§201 et seq., by failing to pay her and other potential collective members overtime at the appropriate rate when they work over forty hours per week.

“Pending before the Court are Darden’s motion for conditional certification of the FLSA claim under 29 U.S.C. §216(b) and motion to compel. Because Darden has demonstrated that the proposed FLSA collective is similarly situated at this notice stage, her motion for conditional certification will be granted and the Court will approve her proposed notice, subject to certain modifications. Darden’s motion to compel will also be granted because the interrogatories and document requests in dispute are relevant to her claims and Colbea has no sound justification for refusing to provide full and complete discovery responses. …

“The FLSA provides that an ‘action to recover the liability’ for minimum wage or overtime violations ‘may be maintained against any employer … by any one or more employees for and in behalf of himself or themselves and other employees similarly situated.’ 29 U.S.C. §216(b). …

“Darden has satisfied the modest factual showing required at the first step by adequately demonstrating that the proposed collective comprises employees who are similarly situated. The proposed collective is limited to hourly employees — namely, cashiers and assistant managers — who currently work, or formerly worked at any point during the last three years, in Colbea’s Seasons Corner Market retail stores located in Massachusetts. The allegations in the complaint, together with two declarations, establish that cashiers and assistant managers work or have worked more than forty hours per week, are paid hourly, and have been subject to a common policy of time rounding that allegedly violates the FLSA. … According to the complaint and declarations, Colbea has subjected all cashiers and assistant managers to a time keeping system that required them to record the times at which they began and ended work, and it has rounded employees’ recorded times up or down to the nearest fifteen-minute interval, to the employees’ detriment. … Colbea’s interrogatory response confirms the existence of the common time rounding policy, explaining: ‘Colbea’s time rounding practice is longstanding. When employees punch in and out, the clock rounds up or down to the nearest fifteen (15) minute increment.’ … The existence of this common policy is sufficient to demonstrate, at this stage, that members of the proposed FLSA collective are similarly situated. …

“The plaintiff’s motion to conditionally certify a class and authorize notice pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §216(b), ECF 18, is granted in part and denied in part. It is hereby ordered that the defendants shall identify all putative collective members by providing a list of their names, last known mailing addresses, and e-mail addresses in electronic and importable format within 30 days of the entry of this order. The plaintiff is authorized to issue notice to all members of the conditionally certified collective in the form attached at ECF 18-3, with the addition of the modifications required by this opinion. The plaintiff is also authorized to send a reminder notice to any potential plaintiffs who fail to opt in forty-five days before the close of the opt-in period, which shall close ninety days from the mailing of the notice.

“The plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery, ECF 16, is granted. It is hereby ordered that the defendants provide full and complete discovery responses to all interrogatories and document requests subject to the plaintiff’s motion to compel. The plaintiff’s request for costs and attorneys’ fees incurred in connection with the motion to compel is denied.”



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