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Federal jury finds wage violation in Baltimore FLSA suit

A federal jury Thursday awarded approximately $25,000 to a man who was misclassified as a salaried employee for more than six years and not paid overtime.

Andre Jackson worked for ReliaSource Inc., a Baltimore technological services company, from May 2009 through the filing of the lawsuit in February 2016. The jury awarded him $27,784.62 in overtime and other damages.

“He’s glad it’s over,” attorney Joseph E. Spicer said of Jackson. “He really didn’t want it to go this far. He just wanted fair compensation for the hours that he worked.”

Spicer, of the Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl in Baltimore, said it is unusual for a wage and hour lawsuit to go to trial and more common for them to be resolved out of court.

Jackson alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards and and Maryland Wage and Hour Law. He worked as a technician for ReliaSource, where he moved client hardware and devices between locations, installed servers and networks and worked with ReliaSource hardware.

In 2014, Jackson began screening potential hires but had no discretion in the decision if the candidate met the requirements. In 2016, he was made a manager, but his duties remained the same and he was not granted any additional authority.

During the course of his employment, Jackson worked between 45 and 70 hours and worked up to seven days each week. He also traveled for the company and was not properly compensated for that time.

ReliaSource contended Jackson was a manager and not entitled to overtime pay.

“Their feeling was that he was an exempt employee not entitled to overtime,” said Spicer. “They said that his primary duties were as a manager, and we disagreed with that from the very beginning.”

To qualify for the executive exemption, an employee’s primary duties must be managerial.

“You don’t look at the title, you look at what his duties and responsibilities were,” said Spicer, who tried the case with George E. Swegman.

Though Jackson had some supervisory responsibilities, he did not meet the requirements to be exempt from overtime pay.

ReliaSource was represented by Lawrence J. Quinn and Jaime W. Luse of Tydings and Rosenberg LLP. Quinn and Luse were not immediately available for comment Friday.

Andre Jackson v. ReliaSource Inc. et al.

Court: U.S. District Court in Baltimore

Case No.: 1:16cv00358

Judge: William M. Nickerson

Proceeding: Jury trial

Outcome: $27,784.62 verdict for plaintiff

Dates:

Incident: May 2009 to present

Suit filed: Feb. 8, 2016

Verdict: April 27, 2017

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Joseph E. Spicer and George E. Swegman of the Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl in Baltimore.

Defendants’ Attorney: Lawrence J. Quinn and Jaime W. Luse of Tydings and Rosenberg LLP.

Count: Violations of the Fair Labor Standards and and Maryland Wage and Hour Law


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