|April 29, 2013|
Previously published on April 25, 2013
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston today granted plaintiffs' motion for certification of a conditional Fair Labor Standards Act ("FSLA") collective action in the overtime pay suit against their employers MHN, Government Services, Inc. and Managed Health Network, Inc. (collectively "MHN").
Plaintiffs, known as Military Family Life Consultants ("MFLCs"), provide counseling to military service members and their families at U.S. military installations across the nation and abroad. The class action complaint charges that MHN misclassified MFLCs as independent contractors, and that they should be classified as employees and are entitled to overtime compensation under the federal FLSA and similar state laws.
In granting collective action certification, Judge Illston stated:
"Plaintiffs and the other [MFLCs] all share the same job title and similar duties. MHN has standard policies, set forth in the MFLC Provider Manual and MFLC Program Summary, that apply to all MFL Consultants. They are also all subject to the same employment agreement with MHN, the Provider Services Task Order Agreement. MHM classifies all [MFLCs] as exempt employees, and therefore does not pay them overtime hours. Additionally, plaintiffs have made a showing that the [MFLCs] have similar duties, regardless of the type or location of assignment they are given." (Internal citations omitted.)
"Thousands of MFLCs work tirelessly to help American service members, earning significant revenues for government-contractor MHN each year," stated Lieff Cabraser lawyer Jahan C. Sagafi. "We are pleased that the Court has allowed them to pursue their rights to proper compensation together in one action, rather than in thousands of individual lawsuits that would waste judicial resources and deter MFLCs from recovering money we believe is owed to them. We look forward to providing information about the lawsuit to all MFLCs nationwide, to allow them to opt in to protect their rights."