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Bobryk v. Durand Glass Mfg. Co., Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 29, 2014

CINDY BOBRYK, individually and on behalf of all those similarly situated, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DURAND GLASS MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INC., Defendant

Page 638

For plaintiffs: JUSTIN L. SWIDLER, RICHARD STEVENS SWARTZ, NICHOLAS DENNIS GEORGE, SWARTZ SWIDLER, LLC, CHERRY HILL, NJ.

For defendants: THOMAS J. BARTON, DANIEL H. AIKEN, DRINKER, BIDDLE & REATH, LLP, PRINCETON, NJ.

OPINION

Page 639

NOEL L. HILLMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Before the Court is plaintiffs' motion for conditional certification for a collective action pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ), and motion for class certification pursuant to Rule 23 regarding their New Jersey state law wage claims. For reasons explained below, plaintiffs' motion for conditional certification will be granted, and their motion for class certification will be denied without prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs are current or former employees of defendant Durand Glass Manufacturing Company. (" Durand" ). Durand is a producer of commercial glassware and ceramics located in Millville, New Jersey and is an employer within the meaning of 29 U.S.C. § 203(d).[1] Its production facility

Page 640

operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and employs over 500 individuals paid on an hourly basis.

Durand employees are required to wear personal protective equipment (" PPE" ), gather any required equipment, supplies or tools, and report to work prior to their shift time, sometimes discussing work tasks to be performed with the employee whose shift was ending. After their shift ends, some Durant employees are required to remain in their production location until relieved or until outstanding work assignments or work-related duties are completed, return work equipment, and take off or doff their PPE. Plaintiffs allege that the required pre- and post-shift tasks, such as donning and doffing PPE, constitute unpaid overtime recoverable under FLSA and New Jersey Wage Laws.

Prior to July 2012, Durand paid only for hours worked between scheduled shift-start and shift-end times, or for overtime if pre-approved by management. After July 2012, Durand instituted a " seven minute" rounding policy. Under the rounding policy, if employees clocked in seven minutes or less before their scheduled start time, their paid start time would be rounded forward to their scheduled start time. If employees clocked seven minutes or less after their scheduled end time, their paid end time would be rounded back to their scheduled end time. The seven minute grace period is not paid compensation. If, however, the employee clocks in more than seven minutes before his scheduled start time, or more than seven minutes after his scheduled end time, the employee could be penalized if he did not get prior approval for overtime. With approval, the employee would get paid overtime.

II. JURISDICTION

Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of themselves and others " similarly situated" to remedy alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., and therefore this Court exercises subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question jurisdiction). The Court exercises jurisdiction over plaintiffs' pendant state law wage claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.[2]

III. DISCUSSION

Plaintiffs allege that defendant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ), the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law and

Page 641

the New Jersey Payment Law (" N.J. Wage" ) by failing to pay named plaintiffs and those similarly situated overtime compensation, as well as for certain hours worked. Plaintiffs seek conditional certification for a collection action pursuant to the FLSA, and ...


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