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Thompson Industrial Cleaning Workers Suit-Up Time Pay Class Action

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Three workers in protective gear performing industrial cleaning

Three plaintiffs bring this labor action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act (AMWA). The primary issue is the time workers spent putting on extensive protective gear required for their jobs with Thompson Industrial Services, LLC and what effect that time has on their paychecks.

Two classes have been defined for this action:

  • The FLSA Collective Opt-In Class is all persons who were, are, or will be employed by Thompson Industrial Services as hourly-paid industrial cleaning employees, between May 6, 2016 and May 6, 2019.
  • The AMWA Class is all persons who were, are, or will be employed by Thompson Industrial Services as hourly-paid industrial cleaning employees in Arkansas, between May 6, 2016 and May 6, 2019.

The three plaintiffs bringing this action, Van Razor, Robert Moore, and Shauncy Perry, were hourly, non-exempt employees working for Thompson as laborers, technicians, and foremen, “usually in more than one capacity at a time.” They worked at Thompson’s customers’ locations, including Big River Steel, in Osceola, and Nucor-Yamato, in Armorel, Arkansas. At least some of this work seems to involve industrial cleaning.

The men were required to put on and take off heavy and elaborate personal protective gear for their work, but were required to do so off the clock. The heavy rubber waterproof gear was required for industrial cleaning work. It had to be put on in a specific order, and the time required for dressing in it and later taking it off sometimes added up to as much as five hours per week. The men were not allowed to clock in until they were dressed and had to clock out before they removed the clothing at the end of the day.

The men were thus not paid for these hours. If they had been, it is likely that they would have had overtime pay. Under the FLSA, overtime must be paid at one and a half times the worker’s normal hourly rate.

Also, the complaint claims that the managers of the companies sometimes edited the men’s timesheets, to show that they had taken lunch breaks when in fact they had not, or to alter their start times. The company therefore did not keep accurate records of their time or pay them properly for that time. 

The complaint asks that the men be paid for all hours they worked and paid proper overtime for all hours worked over forty per week. It requests “monetary damages, liquidated damages, and costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees.” It claims that the company’s practices were willful and done in bad faith. “Alternatively, should the Court find that Defendants acted in good faith in failing to pay Plaintiffs as provided by the AMWA, Plaintiffs are entitled to an award of prejudgment interest at the applicable legal rate.”

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