United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM ORDER AND REPORT &
Douglas E. Arpert, United States Magistrate Judge.
matter comes before the Court on the following two motions by
Plaintiff Crystal Sanchez and the opt-in Plaintiffs
(together, “Plaintiffs”): (1) Plaintiffs'
motion for conditional certification and for Court-authorized
notice under the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) (ECF No.
100); and (2) Plaintiffs' motion for
equitable tolling of the applicable statute of limitations
(ECF No. 116). The first motion seeks conditional
certification of this matter as a collective action under the
FLSA as well as the Court's approval of a proposed form
of notice, a notice period and notice process. Defendants
oppose this motion in part. While not opposing the request
for conditional certification, Defendants object to certain
aspects of the form and method of notice.
second motion asks the Court to toll the statute of
limitations for the FLSA claims as of August 15, 2017, the
date Plaintiff Sanchez filed her Amended Complaint first
alleging violations of the FLSA. Defendants oppose this
motion. For the reasons below, Plaintiffs' motion for
conditional certification and Court-authorized notice is
granted subject to the limitations set forth herein. As to
the motion for equitable tolling, the Court recommends the
motion be granted in part and denied in part.
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Sanchez is a former Branch Operations Manager for Defendant
Santander Bank N.A. (“Defendant” or
“Santander”). She worked at one of
Santander's branches from approximately February 2016 to
August 2016. In June 2017, Plaintiff filed this suit in the
Superior Court of New Jersey, purportedly on behalf of
herself and other similarly situated employees of Santander
in New Jersey. In the state court Complaint, Sanchez alleged
violations of New Jersey wage and hour laws, unjust
enrichment, discrimination, whistleblowing, retaliation,
fraudulent inducement, promissory estoppel, constructive
discharge, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Defendants removed the action to this Court.
August 15, 2017, Sanchez filed a First Amended Complaint,
adding claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”) purportedly on behalf of herself and
other similarly situated employees of Santander. (Doc. 9, p.
20 ¶ 3). On November 11, 2017, Sanchez filed a Second
Amended Complaint (“SAC”) restating her claims,
including her FLSA collective action claims.
Conditional Certification & Notice
have filed the instant motion requesting that the Court grant
conditional certification of an FLSA collective action on
behalf of all “Branch Operations Managers who were
employed by Defendant Santander  at least one week from
June 29, 2014 to [the present]”. ECF No. 100-58.
According to Plaintiffs, “Branch Operations
Managers” are Santander employees with the following
job titles: (1) Retail Banking Branch Operations Manager: (2)
Retail Banking Branch Operations Manager II; and (3) Senior
Specialist, Branch Operations Management (collectively,
“BOMs”). Santander pays an hourly rate to all
BOMs and classifies them as non-exempt employees, meaning
they are eligible for overtime. However, Plaintiffs contend
that “Santander's policies and practices were
designed to dissuade, deter, discourage, intimidate and/or
coerce Plaintiff and the putative class of BOMs from
reporting overtime hours worked” while at the same time
compelling the BOMs to work “off the clock” in
order to avoid giving rise to overtime pay.
addition to their request for conditional certification,
Plaintiffs further request that the Court issue an Order as
(1) permitting Plaintiffs to send a notice of this lawsuit to
all BOMs who worked for Santander “at any time during
the Collective Action Period (defined as June 29, 2014 to the
date of the Court's Order granting Plaintiffs'
(2) setting a notice period of 90 days;
(3) permitting the notice and consent to join forms to be
sent via U.S. mail and email;
(4) compelling Santander to post the notice form in a
conspicuous location in each of its branches during the
(5) permitting Plaintiffs to set up an interactive website
providing notice of this action and serving as a portal
allowing parties to electronically consent to join this
(6) permit Plaintiffs to send a reminder postcard via U.S.
Mail and email to individuals who do not submit a completed
consent to join form;
(7) directing Santander to produce a computer readable data
file containing the full names, addresses, telephone numbers,
dates/location of employment, and personal email addresses
for all potential collective action members; and
(8) directing Santander to provide the last four digits of
the Social Security numbers for all potential collective
action members for whom a notice is returned.
do not oppose conditional certification and concede that
notice should issue. However, Defendants oppose certain
aspects of the form and method of notice. Specifically,
Defendants oppose the following aspects of the motion:
• Plaintiffs' request that the Collective Action
Period for potential opt-in Plaintiffs commence three years
prior to the date Sanchez filed her initial Complaint;
• Plaintiffs' request for notice to be issued by
e-mail, posting at Santander's branches, posting on an
interactive web portal, and sending a reminder notice by mail