United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
VINCENT WHITE, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
CITY OF RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, Defendant.
A. Gibney, Jr. United States District Judge
class action, the plaintiffs allege that the City of Richmond
("the City") Department of Social Services
("DSS") failed to pay them overtime wages in
violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").
The plaintiffs, current and former family service workers,
contend that their supervisors discouraged them from
reporting overtime hours, that they worked through lunch, and
that they worked nights and weekends to manage their
caseloads. The City has moved for summary judgment and for
decertification or dismissal of the class
Court will grant the City's motion for summary judgment
as to the plaintiffs' claims for on-call overtime wages
and deny it as to all other claims. The claim for on-call
overtime wages fails because the plaintiffs cannot show that
their on-call time constitutes compensable work. A material
factual dispute exists, however, as to whether the plaintiffs
received all their overtime pay when they worked more than
forty hours per week.
the plaintiffs cannot establish a claim for on-call overtime
wages, the Court will dismiss plaintiffs Gwendolyn Jordan and
Corey Campbell, who allege only on-call overtime claims.
Court will deny the City's motion to decertify the class
action as to the remaining plaintiffs. Although the
plaintiffs' claims differ from each other in some ways,
they present enough common issues to merit a joint trial.
White, the named plaintiff, worked for DSS as a family
service worker until September, 2016. Family service workers
conduct field investigations, maintain case files, interview
witnesses, and complete other tasks related to foster care.
DSS classifies family service workers as
"non-exempt" under the FLSA, so the City must pay
them one-and-one-half times their regular rates when they
work more than forty hours per week. DSS uses a timekeeping
system called RAPIDS to track employees' hours and to
keep time records. Additionally, employees must submit work
control logs to track time worked outside their normal work
also requires workers to remain on-call at certain times to
respond to calls from the state hotline. DSS pays workers for
time spent answering and responding to calls, but it does not
pay them for time spent waiting to answer or respond. While
on call, workers must respond to calls within thirty minutes
to one hour. On-call workers use DSS-issued cell phones and
may drive a City car home or pick up a car when responding to
calls. Workers may engage in personal activities while on
call so long as they can answer and respond to a call from
January 18, 2019, the Court conditionally certified the
following class: "Present and Former Family Service
Worker employees of the City of Richmond, Virginia Department
of Social Services who were employed and who performed work
anytime between July 20, 2015 through the present." (Dk.
No. 23.) Since that time, twenty-two current or former
workers filed opt-in notices to join the lawsuit. The parties
voluntarily dismissed thirteen opt-in plaintiffs.
Accordingly, White and nine opt-in plaintiffs remain in this
case: Alice Regina Leftwich, Nakesha Mills, Alfertia
Hampton-Miller, Patricia Brown, Richard Turner, Courtenay
Scott, Corey Campbell, Gwendolyn Jordan, and Michael
Leftwich, Mills, Hampton-Miller, Brown, Turner, and Scott say
that they worked more than forty hours per week without
receiving overtime pay. White, Scott, and Turner contend that
their supervisors discouraged them from reporting overtime.
When White's overtime hours "were too high,"
his supervisor "express[ed] discomfort with the
hours." (Dk. No. 41-2, at 38:4-13.) Scott stopped
turning in overtime sheets because doing so "was frowned
upon" and resulted in "a verbal battle ... to even
get paid for it." (Dk. No. 41-3, at 12:18-22.)
Turner's supervisor "made it clear that... overtime
would not be approved." (Dk. No. 41-4, at 17:13-16.)
Hampton-Miller, Mills, and Turner often worked through lunch,
even though their RAPIDS entries reflected a one-hour
deduction for the lunch hour. Mills, Brown, and Leftwich say
their large caseloads required them to work overtime without
City has moved for summary judgment, arguing that the
plaintiffs cannot establish all elements of their claim for
unpaid overtime work and that the plaintiffs cannot show that
their on-call time constitutes compensable work. The City
also has moved for decertification or dismissal, asserting
that the plaintiffs are not similarly situated under the