Recently in Class Actions Category

November 21, 2014

Judge Awards $10 Million in Class-Action Lawsuit against Social Security Administration

On October 30, an administrative law judge for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) approved a $10 million class-action settlement. A news source reported that the plaintiffs are former employees of the Social Security Administration (SSA) who applied for a promotion in 2003. Apparently, these individuals made a "best qualified" list but were not chosen for promotions. The plaintiffs argued that they were not chosen because of certain enumerated disabilities.

handicap-parking-1271666-m.jpgIn response to the settlement, the SSA will begin to significantly improve its policies and procedures in regards to disabled workers. This will include trainings and providing individuals with reasonable accommodations. The compensation will include over $6.5 million to members of the class that was discriminated against, and the rest of the settlement will go towards legal and administrative fees.

Kentucky Disability Discrimination

In Kentucky, discrimination because of a legitimate disability is unlawful. Both Kentucky and federal law require that public employers provide any employee who has a known disability with reasonable accommodations. Disabilities include both physical and mental limitations of qualified individuals. It is important to note that this ban on discrimination does not only include current employees but potential employees as well. For example, employers cannot ask a prospective employee whether he or she is disabled before he or she is hired. They can only ask about any disabilities after the employee is hired.

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September 25, 2012

Employment Lawsuit against Restaurant Chain Claims Employees Were Underpaid

Once again, Darden Restaurants is in the news as employees allege that they are not being paid fairly. Darden Restaurants is a huge company, best known for its Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants that are located in Kentucky, Indiana, and throughout the United States.

Only two plaintiffs have been named in the unfair pay lawsuit, one in Florida and one in Virginia. However, the attorney who filed the lawsuit sees it becoming a class action lawsuit that could potentially cover thousands of previous and current Darden employees that were employed by the company anytime between 2009 and 2012. The unfair wages lawsuit was filed in Florida, where Darden is headquartered.

The lawsuit is based on the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). FLSA was passed in 1938 and established minimum wage and the 40-hour workweek. It also stated that employees were entitled to time-and-a-half for every hour they worked over 40 hours. FSLA also states that tipped employees are allowed to keep their tips and they will not become the property of the employer. A tipped employee may be required to put their tips in a "tip pool." The tips in the pool are then shared among the employees that regularly receive tips as part of their compensation. An amendment to the Act in 1946 stated that an employee should be paid for any time spent doing work specifically for the employer, even if it was not during the employee's scheduled shift or regular work hours. Another amendment relevant to this case occurred in 1996. Up until this time, employees who received tips regularly were paid 50% of the current minimum wage. But in 1996, the tipped employee's hourly rate was frozen at $2.13 per hour by the federal government.

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September 2, 2011

Workers Sue City of Louisville in Class Action Suit for Unsafe Work Environment Due to Toxic Mold Exposure

Employees from the metro police department in Louisville, Kentucky have sued the city of Louisville and the Metro Housing Authority in a class-action suit. The suit claims that the plaintiffs were exposed to mold and other contaminants at a toxic level in a government building at 768 Barret Ave. The case was filed Monday in Jefferson Circuit Court. The suit claims that because of gross negligence and fraudulent concealment, up to 1000 past and present employees were exposed, leading to symptoms including congestion, headaches and skin and respiratory issues.

In 2003, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and an outside consultant found toxic levels of mold in the air. According to the lawsuit, nothing was done to fix the situation, and employees were not informed of the findings. Last year, after some employees' symptoms worsened, OSHA ordered that the ventilation system be cleaned out or replaced, and employees were relocated. Now that the employees are scheduled to return to the building, the plaintiffs are requesting confirmation that the building has been brought up to OSHA standards, that funds be in place for medical testing of employees, and that treatment is provided for any employees that were affected.

Gross negligence occurs when an individual or entity knowingly places a person or group of people in danger. In this case, it is alleged that the city of Louisville and the Metro Housing Authority were aware of the air-quality issue, but did not fix it.

Gross negligence can also be found in car accidents caused by drunk drivers or those distracted by texting. Medical malpractice claims may also include gross negligence if the doctor was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating, or an incorrect surgery is performed, such as the unnecessary removal of an organ or limb.

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