PHILADELPHIA – An attorney for a former maintenance worker who filed a lawsuit raising allegations of wage law violations against Eastern University, a private Christian school in St. Davids, said the university had been notified that it was not complying with overtime laws.
Former maintenance worker Carmen Anuzzi filed his lawsuit against Eastern University on Aug. 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
“Mr. Anuzzi’s situation appears to be a clear example of an employer knowingly manipulating the reality of a job description in an effort to avoid overtime pay, in violation of state and federal law,” Anuzzi’s attorney, Darin T. Orsini, told the Pennsylvania Record.
Specifically, Anuzzi’s complaint makes claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as well as the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act.
In his lawsuit, Anuzzi alleged that Eastern University did not properly pay him for overtime when he worked in excess of 40 hours per week. He said the university was responsible for paying an overtime premium.
“His case is especially troublesome because the defendant was apparently made aware of the overtime obligations on multiple occasions, yet continued to commit conscious and deliberate violations,” Orsini said.
Through the lawsuit, Anuzzi is seeking a trial by jury, unpaid wages, overtime pay, interest, liquidated damages and court costs.
“Mr. Anuzzi is no longer employed at Eastern,” Orsini said.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff worked for the maintenance department at Eastern University for part of a three-year period “until his separation on approximately Nov. 15, 2015.”
During that time, Anuzzi said he was paid on a weekly basis and “regularly worked over 40 hours per week.”
The plaintiff alleges that he was not compensated for his overtime work, even though he was allegedly entitled to compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 per week at a rate equal to 150 percent of his normal hourly pay rate.
The complaint said the FLSA and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act require employers to pay at least one and one-half times the employee’s regular pay rate for any hours worked in excess of 40 per week, and that an “employer cannot avoid this obligation by paying on a salary basis.”
According to information obtained from the Department of Labor, the FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees who are employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees, as well as some employees who work in computer-related capacities.
To qualify for an exemption, the FLSA specifies that employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week. Job titles do not determine exempt status.
In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the department’s regulations.
Eastern University declined to comment on the litigation.