BLOOMINGDALE, MI. A recent lawsuit alleges that the Van Buren County school system and its staffing agency violated federal law by failing to pay an employee overtime.
The lawsuit alleges that Bloomingdale Public Schools failed to pay overtime
It’s important that people get paid for the work they do and legally, said Rob Howard, an attorney at Cunningham Dalman, P.C.
Howard represents Amanda Gonzalez, the woman who filed a complaint against Bloomingdale and Edustaff Public Schools last month. Two more people signed it this week.
Through Edustaff, a Grand Rapids-based employment agency, Gonzalez works in the kitchen and as a custodian at a district high school.
Let’s say she worked 40 hours in the kitchen and 30 hours as a cook this week, Howard said. She did not receive overtime pay.
Howard says Gonzalez never encountered any problems until April of last year, when Edustaff told Bloomingdale’s that he had misinterpreted labor laws regarding joint-job workers.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must pay overtime if someone works more than 40 hours a week.
For example, one of Gonzalez’s pay stubs from the month before the discovery shows she worked two and a half extra hours but was paid her regular rate of pay.
“You work for one employer,” Howard explained. If I worked at a fast food restaurant and was a cashier and then was assigned to cleaning on Saturday, then if I work over 40 hours I should be paid overtime, regardless of what duties I have with that employer.
The lawsuit says the district agreed to fix the problem in the future but did not address the issue of back wages for the affected employees.
According to Howard, they can legally recover up to three years of overtime pay. He believes the amount owed to Gonzalez is around $5,000.
That’s enough money to cover your home for several months and allow you to catch up on some of your bills, Howard said. This is money that they should have had at their disposal throughout the entire period of their duties, but they ran out of funds.
Howard is confident that the money will be recovered in this case, but Howard is worried about others.
The email we received from Edustaff to Bloomingdale Public Schools indicated that this may have been Edustaffs’ corporate policy that could impact employees in other districts who also perform this dual role with one employer, Howard said. They’re in multiple counties across the state, they’re in 10 other states, so we just don’t know how widespread this problem might be and we hope to find out during discovery.
According to its website, Edustaff serves more than 550 public school districts across the country.
A spokesman for the agency and Bloomingdales declined to comment because of the pending lawsuit.
Howard says no one should work without pay.
Everyone likes to be paid for their time, Howard said. This law was introduced to protect workers.
People experiencing wage problems, including unpaid overtime, can file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. Click here to view the form.
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