Developing Practical Solutions

Our economists are retained regularly on allegations brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as state-specific statutes and Department of Labor investigations.

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

Meal and Rest Break Violations

Case 1:  A national delivery company retained Welch Consulting to analyze and testify about nationwide class action claims of interrupted breaks and off-the-clock work. Our economists integrated a complex array of timekeeping data with tracking of deliveries and pick-ups to determine how often breaks were interrupted. Our analysis showed that interrupted breaks were uncommon and largely concentrated among a small number of employees.

Case 2:  Counsel for a California construction company retained Welch Consulting in a potential missed meal and rest break class action. We collected and analyzed GPS data from cement trucks, as well as data on movement of cement drums on vehicles, to assess the frequency of missed meal breaks. Based on our analyses, empirical evidence pointed to substantially fewer missed meal breaks than Plaintiffs had claimed.

Case 3:  Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for several East Coast medical services providers whose systems for automatically deducting time from meal breaks were challenged in different class actions. In each case, we examined timecard data to assess the impact of their auto-deduction systems and the strength of the class certification positions. With empirical evidence of the incidence of potential incorrect deductions, which demonstrated that in a majority of situations the deductions were proper, we provided defendants with arguments that typicality and commonality conditions were not met on a class-wide basis.

Case 4:  A California hospital retained Welch Consulting to examine timecard and payroll records; our consultants were asked to determine the incidence rate of premiums paid for special (short) shifts for 12-hour workers, and to examine the incidence and value of missed meal and rest breaks in a class action lawsuit. We developed an understanding of payroll practices and changes in those practices over time, and calculated potential damages under various legal arguments.

Off the Clock Work

Case 1:  A national call center retained Welch Consulting to assist with a DOL investigation and a hybrid case (including both FLSA claims and state claims from multiple states) regarding unpaid minutes. We generated exposures for the multiple class groups, applying the various statutes of limitations, opt-in/out restrictions, as well as relevant penalties and interest for each. Our analysis was the basis of a settlement agreement with the DOL and was used in mediation with plaintiffs.

Case 2:  Welch Consulting was retained by counsel representing a national telecommunications company in a California class action involving claims of off-the-clock work and failure to pay overtime. Our economists effectively combined information from computer log sign-ins and telephone usage with employees’ schedules and punch times. From these sources, our economists were able to determine how often violations occurred and estimate more precise damage calculations.

Case 3:  Counsel for an energy provider retained Welch Consulting to organize timecard and payroll data for union employees who were paid a blended rate for all hours worked. Employees worked four 12-hour shifts one week, then three 12-hour shifts the next, but were not paid the overtime premium for the weeks with more than 40 hours worked. The US Department of Labor claimed that these employees were owed overtime pay. We computed damages given DOL regulations and existing pay practices and prepared settlement lists and databases for production. The DOL has accepted our calculations as correct.

Case 4:  Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for a security services provider that was accused of incorrectly computing overtime in two California class action lawsuits. Using timecard and payroll data, one of our experts correctly calculated the overtime pay rate as well as the number of overtime hours worked. His computations of damages and penalties were used in mediation to reach a settlement.

Misclassification – Exempt / Non Exempt & Contractor / Employee

Case 1:  Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for a nationwide grocery store chain facing a FLSA misclassification lawsuit in California. After examining whether Store Managers and Assistant Store Managers consistently worked a standard amount of time on non-exempt tasks, we provided detailed data listings to assist counsel in deposing plaintiffs, and were ultimately able to show a wide variation in the amount of time management employees worked at cash registers. The analysis was used to help defeat class certification.

Case 2:  In a California class action, Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for a nationwide logistics company to compute damages stemming from a claim that contractors were actually employees and, as such, should have been reimbursed for their expenses. We organized personnel, vehicle, and revenue data to assess the potential value of the claim. Our analyses provided defendants with evidence that the purported class was correctly classified as contract employees.

Case 3:  Welch Consulting was retained by attorneys representing a national pharmaceutical company in several class actions brought under the FLSA as well as under California and New York state laws alleging misclassification of outside sales representatives. Our experts assisted in processing and combining disparate sources of data for analysis that were then used to create a statistically reliable and representative sampling of Plaintiffs, who testified in deposition on the hours they worked and duties they performed.

Case 4:  Welch Consulting was retained by attorneys representing a national insurance company in a California class action where claims of misclassification, failure to pay overtime, and violations of California’s meal break codes were made on behalf of claims representatives. Our economists used the timecard records of employees after their jobs were reclassified to non-exempt in order to generate reliable estimates of hours worked during the period when the employees were classified as exempt.

Time Shaving and Record Keeping Violations

Case 1:  A national restaurant chain retained Welch Consulting to investigate claims of malicious editing of time records to avoid payment of overtime. We created an algorithm to match the manager’s edits to the final time punches from the payroll system and determine each manager’s editing sequence for a given shift. We found that managerial edits were rare among class members and that there was statistically significant variation in the instance of managerial edits. Our findings were used to defeat class certification.

Case 2:  Welch Consulting was retained by a large grocery chain in the Northeast where allegations included time shaving of overtime hours worked. Since there was no analyzable data on timecard edits, our expert analyzed payroll records to assess how often, and in what amounts, overtime payments were made. The data showed that overtime payments occurred with regularity and in amounts which varied significantly between stores and departments.

Case 3:  Welch Consulting was retained in a New York class action where allegations included time shaving and illegal meal payment deductions for restaurant line cooks. Our team generated analysis data from hard-copy work time records and assessed potential unpaid time and the value of meal deductions. Our analyses were used to settle case.

Benefit Payments

Case 1:  Welch Consulting was retained by a national general merchandise retailer confronting class action allegations that not all accrued paid-time-off (PTO) was paid out at termination. Our expert showed why the opposing expert’s calculations were wrong and demonstrated why the analysis proposed by the plaintiffs would not be informative at the class certification stage. Class certification was denied.

Case 2:  A major airline retained Welch Consulting to analyze vacation accrual as part of a union-employer dispute. Our experts calculated damages arising from differences between a negotiated contract and the requirements of federal law regarding the treatment of military leaves of absence.

Case 3:  Welch Consulting was retained by plaintiffs’ counsel to verify and allegations of incorrect benefits payments stemming from a manufacturer of printers and related supplies with a use-it-or-lose-it vacation policy. One of our economists estimated the value of the forfeited vacation time and provided expert testimony at trial.

Alternative Work Arrangements

Case 1:  Counsel for a major airline transportation company retained Welch Consulting to examine the incidence rate of “switched shifts” among employees, which plaintiffs claimed led to unlawful overtime payment practices and violations of minimum wage law. Using timecard and payroll data, our experts examined the incidence rate of potential violations, providing defendants with reliable evidence to address the frequency of violations, and calculated overtime pay consequences for employees involved in shift “switching”.

Case 2:  A national insurance firm retained Welch Consulting to investigate overtime payments made to employees with Alternative Work Arrangements. The company’s systems were not properly tracking the alternative arrangements, resulting in payment of overtime when it was not due, and failure to pay in instances wherein it should have been paid. We used the time records to identify employees with alternative schedules and calculated the mispayment of overtime.

Other Representative Wage & Hour Engagements

Case 1:  An energy company operating in several states retained Welch Consulting to assess back pay exposure under the FLSA, due to the company’s practice of paying hours on shifts that cross two work weeks in only one week. Since all hours associated with a shift were “frontloaded” and paid in the prior week–potentially moving hours worked on a new calendar day out of the week when they were worked–this could have resulted in overtime violations under the FLSA, due to incorrect payment of an overtime premium on hours worked over 40 in the second week.  Our expert analyzed the available time clock, schedule, and payroll data sources to calculate additional overtime premium payments owed due to “frontloading” after taking account of proper offsets.

Case 2:  Welch Consulting was retained to calculate damages for a nationwide restaurant chain whose tip-pooling practice was alleged to violate minimum wage laws. The analysis focused on the proper allocation of monies paid out to first line supervisory employees who, it was argued, were only entitled to share in the tips if they were not engaged in supervisory duties. Our calculations were used in mediation to reach a settlement.

Case 3:  Welch Consulting was engaged to assess compliance with Service Contract Act for industry-leading national delivery company. Our expert analyzed wage and benefits compliance with SCA regulations for thousands of employees in multiple business segments performing different kinds of work nationwide. We calculated estimates of potential exposure under several alternative measures of government contract work and developed models for increased compliance.

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