Kansas Federal Judge Grants Conditional Cert In TV Producers’ Overtime Suit

by Tara Arick on April 30, 2013 · 0 comments

in Contract Law,Labor and Employment Law

- From LexisNexis® Mealey’s™ Daily Legal News.

A Kansas federal judge on April 23 conditionally certified a class of television producers seeking unpaid straight time and overtime compensation (Melissa Greenstein, et al. v. Meredith Corporation, No. 11-2399, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57861).

Meredith Corp. 

is a company that operates 12 television stations across the nation. Melissa Greenstein, a news producer for one of Meredith’s Kansas City stations, filed a class complaint against her employer in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas seeking unpaid straight time and overtime compensation. She alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Kansas Wage Payment Act.

Greenstein moved for conditional certification of a class consisting of “[a]ll [c]urrent and former Meredith employees employed in the position/title of ‘producer’ whose job duties involved the creation and coordination of local television programming, and/or promotions related to such programming, and who were classified by Meredith as exempt from the right to receive overtime.” In addition, Greenstein sought an order designating her as class representative, an order approving her counsel to act as class counsel, the court’s approval of a proposed notice and method of distribution to putative class members and a directive that Meredith share certain employee information with Greenstein’s counsel.

Partial Certification

Granting the conditional certification, Judge Julie A. Robinson opined that though there may be a lack in uniformity in how Meredith classified producers, “there are sufficient substantial allegations to support a claim that defendant had a general policy or plan of misclassifying producers as exempt employees.”

However, the judge agreed with Meredith that Greenstein’s proposed notice was objectionable in its wording. She directed the parties to confer in an attempt to agree upon a proposed notice. She also declined Greenstein’s request for an order to place a notice at the workplace or transmit one with paychecks. She also declined Greenstein’s request for production of email addresses and Social Security numbers. But the judge did designate Greenstein as class representative and her counsel as class counsel.

Eric L. Dirks and Michael A. Williams of Williams Dirks in Kansas City, Mo., and Michael A. Hodgson of The Hodgson Law Firm in Lee’s Summit, Mo., represent Greenstein.

Bernard J. Rhodes, Brian N. Woolley and Bridget B. Romero of Lathrop & Gage in Kansas City, Mo., represent Meredith.

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