In February 2014, a former service technician for Rooftop Solutions filed a lawsuit in federal court in Atlanta alleging that the company and one of its executives had failed to pay him overtime compensation even though he worked more than 40 hours per week. Rooftop Solutions is the “servicing division” of Grease Guard, LLC, the manufacturer of a system designed to capture oils and greases deposited on commercial and industrial rooftops around exhaust equipment. According to the complaint, the former Rooftop Solutions service technician worked throughout Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina for approximately one year in 2013 and 2014.
After the lawsuit was filed, the case was sent to arbitration to be decided by a private arbitrator rather than a judge. After a lengthy time in arbitration, Grease Guard and the executive ultimately agreed to pay the former service technician $3,000 in unpaid wages to settle his overtime claims. The arbitrator then awarded the employee $33,485.92 in attorney’s fees and $3,398.57 in costs of arbitration, for a total award of $39,884.49. The employee has now returned to the original court moving to make the arbitrator’s award entered as the court’s final judgment.
The Fair Labor Standards Act ensures that employees can pursue even small claims for unpaid overtime and minimum wages by guaranteeing attorney’s fees and costs to a plaintiff who prevails on an overtime or minimum wage claim. That guarantee applies even when the employee is forced into binding arbitration by his employer. If this were not the case, employers could act like “petty tyrants” and break the minimum wage and overtime laws with impunity, knowing that their employees’ claims are too small to justify paying for a lawyer’s time. The FLSA and several other federal employment laws make sure that employers who undercompensate their employees can be held accountable.
The case against Grease Guard is captioned Thomas v. Grease Guard, LLC d/b/a Rooftop Solutions, Civil Action No. 1:14-cv-619-MHC (N.D. Ga.). The plaintiff is represented by attorneys from DeLong Caldwell Bridgers Fitzpatrick & Benjamin, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia.