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Green Valle Tree Service Overtime, Spread-of-Hours Pay Collective Action

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Man Engaged in Tree Trimming

Is there an epidemic of employers refusing to pay overtime? The complaint for this class action claims that Green Valle Tree Service paid its workers a flat day rate, regardless of how much overtime they did. Like most such actions, it brings suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as well as under the New York Labor Law (NYLL).

The collective class for this action is all persons who are or were employed by Green Valle as landscapers, tree cutters and trimmers, or similar personnel, with substantially similar job requirements and pay provisions, who performed the same sort of work but not executive and management functions, and who were subject to Green Valle’s practices and policies, including its refusal to pay the required overtime pay. 

Both the FLSA and the NYLL require that businesses meet certain basic standards in their treatment and pay of employees. These include paying non-executive and non-management people more when they work more hours, paying them for all hours they perform required tasks, giving them appropriate meal and rest breaks, and so on. 

One of the most frequently violated provisions is the rule requiring overtime pay when workers are required to put in more than forty hours per week. Among other things, employers must pay them at least one and a half times their regular hourly rate. New York’s law also has a “spread of hours” provision. It requires that employers give workers an extra hour’s pay if their shifts are longer than ten hours. This helps both to spread the work around to more people and to keep employers from regularly overworking individuals.

Plaintiff William Salamanca worked for Green Valle from around June to November 2016 and again from April 2017 to December 2018. He did landscaping, tree cutting and trimming, and other tasks. During his first stint, he was paid at a flat rate of $180 per day; during the second, the rate was $200 per day. 

At the time, he worked for Green Valle for approximately seventy-two hours per week—that is, twelve hours per day, six days a week. Despite this very heavy schedule, the complaint says, Green Valle did not pay him time-and-a-half for his overtime hours, as required by the FLSA and NYLL. Nor did it give him the extra hour’s pay required for work days longer than ten hours, as required by NYLL. 

According to the complaint, Green Valle also did not post notices about minimum wage and overtime wage requirements in the place of employment, nor did it keep accurate payroll records, as required by both laws. 

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