Avis’s Motion to De-Certify Class Denied
on February 25, 2014 by James T. Hunt, Jr.on February 25, 2014
A New Jersey federal district court judge rejected the motion to de-certify a class of workers bringing overtime claims in Ruffin v. Avis Budget Car Rental. The shift managers’ lawsuit is based upon misclassification and the rental company’s failure to pay overtime wages. The court held that the wage-and-hour class action lawsuit may proceed, even though the job duties performed by the workers varied.
The plaintiff workers claim that Avis improperly classified them as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which resulted in the workers not being paid for all the hours they worked, including overtime. The workers’ job duties included non-exempt tasks such as cleaning cars, renting the autos and checking inventory.
Avis challenged the class certification arguing that the parties were not “similarly situated” and that it would be unfair for Avis to defend the inconsistent factual allegations of the plaintiffs. However, the court found that the plaintiffs’ jobs did not have to be identical to be considered similarly situated under FLSA. The Avis workers were subject to the same Avis work rules, policies and training program. Finally, the court ruled that having the lawsuit proceed as a class action lawsuit would help keep the legal costs lower and promote judicial efficiency.
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