Current Investigations

T-Mobile: The firm is currently investigating the pay practices of T-Mobile at its call centers around the country. T-Mobile operates approximately 17 call centers in various states around the United States. Most call center employees are compensated based on an hourly wage. Employees whose performance meets or exceeds certain targets established by T-Mobile are eligible for bonuses. Bonuses are paid monthly and take the form of an add on to the employee’s regular hourly rate. For example, an employee may qualify for a bonus of an additional $2.00 per hour. Depending on performance, the bonuses may amount to more than $10.00 per hour. T-Mobile pays the bonuses on what it considers to be "productive" time, which does not include all of an employee’s working time. Under T-Mobile’s bonus program it is instead obligated to pay the bonuses on employees’ total working time, with the result that call center employees throughout the country who qualify for bonuses have been underpaid.

T-Mobile has also underpaid employees who work overtime. The overtime laws require that non-discretionary bonuses, like the monthly bonuses paid to T-Mobile call center employees, be included in the base pay of employees when determining the proper rate for overtime work. The law requires employers to pay employees one and one-half times their "regular rate" for all hours worked over 40 per week. By failing to include bonuses in the regular rate, T-Mobile has underpaid those employees who work overtime.

The law provides redress for unpaid bonuses and overtime. In addition to the right to recover the unpaid bonuses, unpaid overtime and interest on those sums, in some cases the amount of overtime will be doubled or, in some cases, even tripled. If T-Mobile’s failure to properly pay bonuses was intentional or in reckless disregard of the rights of its employees, it may also be liable for punitive damages.

If you have any information on T-Mobile’s call center bonus or overtime pay practices, or would like more information on our investigation, please contact Chris Moody ([email protected]) or Chelsea Buldain ([email protected]) or call us at 505-944-0033.

Tri-State CareFlight Overtime Litigation: State and federal laws exist to ensure that most employees receive time and one-half their regular rate of pay if they are required to work more than forty hours per week. Unfortunately, many employers fail to pay the required overtime to their employees. The result is that too many employees are required to work very hard, but are denied all of the pay to which they are legally entitled.

Moody & Stanford has been active at pursuing overtime claims on behalf of employees who have been wrongfully denied overtime pay. Many overtime claims are for a few thousand dollars each, making them uneconomic to pursue on an individual basis. However, Moody & Stanford frequently pursues employers in class action or collective litigation, where a few employees may represent a class of tens, hundreds or even thousands of employees.

Moody & Stanford is currently pursuing overtime claims on behalf of New Mexico employees of Tri-State CareFlight, LLC, a company that operated an air ambulance service in New Mexico until it sold its operations to Air Methods in early 2016. The case was originally brought by David and Nicole Payne, two former flight crew employees of Tri-State, in 2014 for unpaid overtime. Moreover, under New Mexico law unpaid overtime is multiplied by three, effectively tripling the amount of overtime that originally went unpaid. So in addition to unpaid overtime, the Paynes were also seeking treble damages. We filed the case as a class action on behalf of all Tri-State flight crew members employed in New Mexico from June 19, 2009 to the present and sought to recover on behalf of all those covered under the applicable statute of limitations. Before the court ruled on whether the case could be pursued as a class action on behalf of all covered employees, Tri-State settled with the Paynes. This is a common strategy employed by companies in this situation. They pay off the few employees who are brave enough to sue them in the hopes that the case will then go away and they will not have to pay all the other employees who were shorted on overtime.

The only way to prevent a company from "picking off" the class representatives and perhaps thereby causing the case to fail as a class action is for more current or former employees to join the case both individually (to obtain their legally entitled overtime pay) and as class representatives. Fortunately, in early 2016 five additional former Tri-State employees stepped up and agreed to join the case as class representatives. Keith Bastian, Jaqueline Fernandez-Quezada, Cason N. Heard, Gregory Oldham and Sherry K. Welch intervened in the case and with our assistance continued to pursue the case as a class action on behalf of all persons employed by Tri-State in New Mexico as flight crew members from mid-2009 through early 2016.

Once again, however, Tri-State decided to "pick off" the former five (5) employees by offering them 100% of the unpaid overtime and additional damages we calculated they were due. More specifically, Tri-State agreed to take judgment against itself and in favor of the five (5) plaintiffs and pay damages amounts ranging from over $13,000 to a high of over $64,000, depending on the amount of overtime each was due. You can see the final judgment listing the amounts Tri-State paid to those five (5) plaintiffs by clicking here. Based on prior Court decisions in the lawsuit and the controlling law, we believe that TriState's agreement to take a judgment against itself and to pay all sums that we believe were owed to these five former employees is a recognition that overtime pay is owed and due to Tri-State employees who worked hard, provided their time and effort to the benefit of the company and have claims within the applicable timeframe in the lawsuit.

Following the entry of Final Judgment against the Defendants and in favor of the five (5) Plaintiffs, we presented to the Court an additional seventeen (17) former Tri-State employees who requested permission to intervene into the case in order to continue the litigation on behalf of themselves and all other former New Mexico employees. We later followed that up with more employees, bringing the total to 69. Before the Court granted leave to intervene, we became concerned with the amount of time it was taking for the Court to decide on intervention so we filed a second case to protect former employees’ rights to the maximum extent. Immediately following the filing of that second case, we filed a Motion for Conditional Class Certification asking the Court to allow us to proceed as a class. You can review that motion by clicking here.
Then in September 2017 the Court granted the intervention motion, thus permitting all sixty-nine (69) additional Tri-State employees to be added to the case as class representative plaintiffs. You can review the Third Amended Complaint filed on behalf of these sixty-nine (69) plaintiffs by clicking here.
Since we have filed two nearly identical cases with duplicative claims, we have requested that the Court merge both cases into one for purposes of convenience and practicality.

In the event that the Court agrees to merge the two cases into one, our most recently filed conditional class certification motion under the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act is expected to replace, in part, the previous class certification motion that we filed on behalf of the five previous plaintiffs, and it will be ready for decision by the Court. However, before the Court has an opportunity to rule on the Motion Tri-State may well decide to continue with its strategy of settling only with the former employees that sue it (i.e. those who are actually named on the case as class representative plaintiffs) in hopes of avoiding having to pay all of the other former employees who have not joined in the lawsuit, but who we believe are legally entitled to the fair pay that New Mexico law provides to employees. In the meantime, we will continue to pursue the case aggressively and will request that the Court make a legal finding that Tri-State is in violation of the law by denying its employees overtime compensation for all the overtime worked.

If you want to know more about the case or want to consider whether you would like, as a matter of your own choice, to join, please contact Chelsea Buldain at [email protected] or 505.944.0033.