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California Overtime Lawsuits Drone On…

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Lancaster, CAIt’s a California overtime law case that has a Star Wars feel to it. However, this war isn’t necessarily about chasing storm troopers in the stratosphere, but simply trying to achieve a fair shake from an employer, according to tenets set out by overtime pay laws.

In a story published in the Baltimore Business Journal (6/5/13), it has been revealed that two California men have brought an unpaid overtime lawsuit against AAI Corp., a subsidiary of Textron Systems. Eric Trembly of Simi Valley, and John C. Keenon of Lancaster, filed the lawsuit in Baltimore. The two men allege that their employer wrongly classified their jobs as not qualifying for overtime.

Keenon, according to the report, is a former ERMP pilot who worked at AAI until voluntarily leaving the company last year. Co-plaintiff Trembly, meanwhile, reportedly still works at AAI as an Extended Range Multi-Purpose Program pilot.

According to the overtime laws report, AAI has been down this road before. In 2012, AAI reportedly agreed to settle three wage-and-hour lawsuits in US District Court in Baltimore and Washington State, as well as State court in Alaska. Without admitting liability, AAI agreed to pay a total of $1.6 million in compensation settlements.

In the Baltimore case last year, it was alleged that AAI failed to provide overtime pay to field service engineers tasked with the maintenance and repair of AAI unmanned surveillance aircraft, otherwise known as drones.

For the current California overtime law case, the co-plaintiffs allege that AAI improperly labeled drone pilots as exempt from collecting overtime. The pilots involved undertake the operation of ground control systems for the unmanned drones.

The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for their unpaid overtime lawsuit, giving current and former workers of AAI, who feel they have been wronged in the same fashion, the opportunity to participate in the California overtime lawsuit and share in any compensation.

The unpaid overtime lawsuit was filed by the two California men May 13, in US District Court in Baltimore.

Overtime laws exist in an effort to protect employees from being taken advantage of by unfair employers attempting to cut costs and bolster bottom lines by failing to pay overtime, either through outright denial or a ruse that involves improperly classifying an employee as exempt.

As the economy continues to languish, legal professionals see a greater prevalence of misclassifications and other unfair labor practices. At the same time, however, lawyers are seeing an increase in unpaid overtime lawsuits, as disadvantaged employees stand up for their rights.


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