American Airlines, Inc. faces a proposed collective action in which an employee claims he and other hourly workers were not properly paid for required training sessions.
According to the 11-page complaint, American Airlines requires hourly employees such as fleet service clerks, mechanics, gate agents and cargo workers to complete quarterly training modules that last between four and five hours each. The lawsuit alleges, however, that the airline regularly fails to pay workers at the proper rate for the training, either by not paying them at all or paying them at their hourly rate instead of their time-and-a-half overtime rate.
The case alleges American Airlines has violated both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Illinois Minimum Wage Law.
The plaintiff says he has worked for the defendant as a fleet service clerk since 1986 and is classified as an hourly worker who is non-exempt from the FLSA’s overtime provisions. Per the suit, the plaintiff and other hourly employees are required to complete their quarterly training modules outside their regularly scheduled hours and after they’ve clocked out. Nevertheless, American Airlines either fails to pay the individuals any wages at all for training or pays them at their regular hourly rate, according to the case.
The plaintiff argues that because he regularly puts in more than 40 hours per week, he should be paid time-and-a-half overtime for time spent completing training modules.
Per the suit, workers who refuse to complete their training face discipline, up to and including termination.
The lawsuit claims American Airlines “knew or should have known” that hourly employees were putting in more than 40 hours per week during the weeks in which they completed training modules yet failed to properly pay them in accordance with state and federal law.
“At all relevant times herein, Defendant has deprived Plaintiff and other Hourly Employees of regular wages and overtime compensation for all hours worked,” the complaint claims. “Defendant knew or showed reckless disregard for whether its actions violated the FLSA and the IMWL.”
The lawsuit looks to represent hourly American Airlines employees who were required to complete quarterly training modules within the past three years.
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