O’Brien Law Firm helps client win well deserved pay for thousands of hours of overtime
On September 26, 2017, after a two-day jury trial, a federal jury in Waco, Texas rendered a unanimous verdict for a deserving O’Brien Law Firm client, awarding her $25,000 for thousands of hours of overtime that she worked nights and weekends over almost 3 years’ time. The amount the jury awarded her was a little more than the amount of overtime that the calculations suggested she was due. If overtime penalties and attorney fees had been added by the Court, the final award would likely have risen to around $80,000. The parties settled on confidential terms and dismissed the case before the Court ruled on the those penalties and fees. The company had previously offered only $5,000 just before trial to settle.
Debbie, the O’Brien Law Firm’s client, spent between 60 and 70 hours a week doing data entry, answering insurance claims help line questions, and providing secretarial support for the company’s managers. The company even forwarded its 1-800 help line number to Debbie’s company-issued cell phone on a 24/7 basis, and expected her to answer it after hours and on weekends. They paid her a modest salary only, that effectively paid her between $12-$14 per hour for giving up a huge part of her life for many years. When Debbie made her overtime claim, the company attempted to say that she was exempt from the overtime laws, because she answered the harder questions on the help line, or because she did any number of things that she didn’t actually do.
The 7 jurors from the Waco area, who paid fantastic attention throughout the trial, took only around 45 minutes to render their verdict: Debbie was not exempt from the overtime rules, she was due the money, and the company and her supervisor weren’t ignorant of the law — they had done this intentionally. After the jury left the courtroom, this deserving lady had tears in her eyes, now that the company had finally been held accountable. This was a great result for making sure that hardworking people get paid fairly and legally when they give up big pieces of their lives to help a company make big profits.
The case was Civil Action No. 6:16-cv-00170, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division. Judge Robert Pitman was the presiding judge.