Jackson Hewitt Franchisee Hit with Overtime Class Action Lawsuit
By Jessica Tyner
Jackson Hewitt managers are salaried, not hourly, but former employees claim in the class action lawsuit that they were given these lofty titles solely because the company didn’t want to properly compensate them. They claim that Florida franchisee TaxPrep 1 Inc. “forced” these “managers” to work well over 40 hours a week without offering overtime pay. This is in direct violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of the state, according to the class action lawsuit.
Instead of hourly pay, managers received a weekly salary. However, the employees claim that most of their work was not managerial and they underwent the same daily tasks as they did before the manager title was tacked onto their workload.
Wage and hour lawsuits can entail a variety of things, such as “fixing” schedules and not paying for what should be paid breaks. In this case, plaintiffs allege that someone in the upper ranks knew what they were doing was wrong, thus the sudden shift to a managerial position. However, it was a weak cover-up, according to lead plaintiffs Lisa R. Kelley and Sharon Parker.
Kelley and Parker still work for TaxPrep1 and are seeking to represent an estimated class of 80 to 90 similarly situated employees. They say employees of the tax preparation company weren’t aware that they were being victimized. They were told they didn’t qualify for overtime because they were salaried, and they took that at face value. They didn’t know that, since their duties weren’t actually managerial, they were being given a title they didn’t qualify for (or didn’t perform the services of) in exchange for their hard earned income.
The plaintiffs are seeking unpaid wages, attorney’s fees, liquidated damages and other costs through the class action lawsuit, estimated to be around $1 million.
Taking on a Giant
Prior to filing for bankruptcy, Jackson Hewitt was the runner up in terms of tax preparation services, right behind H&R Block Inc. However, things went downhill in 2011 when they filed for bankruptcy on the heels of a reorganization.
Spokespeople for the company said funding issues and the refund anticipation loan program were largely to blame for the filing. Sometimes called predatory loans, the refund program led to a number of defaults with lenders. This is an entirely different monster the company faced.
These loans have led to a slew of separate class action lawsuits, alleging that their nature is also in violation of laws (state lending laws). Now that a potential wage and hour class action lawsuit is being considered, there seems to be no end to the trouble Jackson Hewitt is facing. If successful, each wage and hour victim will receive a trial by jury, but ensured a faster resolution.
The case is Kelley, et al. v. TaxPrep1 Inc., Case No.: 6:13-cv-01265, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Do You Have a Similar Complaint?
If you were not paid overtime or wages for all the hours you worked, you may have a wage and hour legal claim. You don’t have to be an employee of this company to qualify. Learn more at the Wage & Hour, Overtime Pay Class Action Lawsuit Investigation. After sharing your information, an attorney will contact you if you qualify for a free wage and hour claim review.
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