NELA, joined by the Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas, Cornell Law School Labor Law Clinic, Friends of Farmworkers, JUNTOS/Casa de los Soles, National Employment Law Project, National Lawyers Guild Labor and Employment Committee, and Working Hands Legal Clinic, filed an amicus brief in the Third Circuit related cases of Knepper v. Rite-Aid (Case No. 11-1684) and Fisher v. Rite-Aid (Case No. 11-1685). Plaintiffs were employed as an Assistant Store Manager and allege that defendant missclassified them as exempt and failed to pay overtime in violation of state law and the FLSA. The district court dismissed both cases holding that their state class action claims were inherently incompatible with FLSA collective actions.
NELA’s brief argued that: 1) hybrid FLSA/state law class action cases are necessary to protect the rights of workers because violations of federal and state wage and hour laws are rampant and government enforcement is inadequate; 2) workers are authorized to bring FLSA/state law class action cases in federal court under the federal jurisdiction statutes and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; 3) the FLSA does not preempt state law or the federal jurisdiction statutes; and 4) Congress adopted the FLSA’s opt-in procedure before the ascendance of the Rule 23 opt-out procedure. This is the fourth time that NELA has made these arguments as amicus curiae, having done so previously in the Second, Third and Seventh Circuits. In our previous outing before the Third Circuit in Parker v. Nutri-Systems, the court failed to reach the issue.
Authors: David Borgen, Roberto Concepcion, Jason Tarricone