According to reports, a federal judge in Georgia has allowed a lawsuit to proceed that involves failure to pay overtime wages.
The lawsuit was filed by several field managers of AT&T's BellSouth unit, who allege the telecommunications company has denied paying them overtime wages since 2007. Their lawsuit seeks close to $1 billion in unpaid wages.
"AT&T consistently violates federal and state laws in compensating its First Levels," said co-lead counsel Janette Wipper. "Although their job title includes the term 'manager,' these individuals manage nothing and have no management responsibilities. The company uses this job title merely as a means to extract from these employees more hours of work, without providing them any additional compensation."
The case had been put on hold, as BellSouth argued a class-action lawsuit cannot be filed, as the various plaintiffs have "very different duties." However, the judge dismissed the company's claim and allowed the suit to proceed. According to reports, this is at least the third time a judge has certified a class-action movement from field managers against AT&T's subsidiaries. Similar decisions in 2009 and 2010 in Connecticut and California, respectively, paved the way for this lawsuit to take place, according to attorneys.
The plaintiffs are spread throughout nine Southern states.
The case highlights the importance of adhering to federal and state regulations, especially when dealing with overtime payments. Failing to adequately pay workers for hours can result in similar professional liability lawsuits, which can tarnish a company's reputation.