Overtime unpaid, suits say

December 06, 1999|By JULIE E. GREENE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Three Martinsburg residents filed separate class-action lawsuits last week against a national commercial cleaning firm, alleging it violated federal overtime laws, according to their attorney.

The three former employees filed the suits against Kellermeyer Building Services of Maumee, Ohio, last Thursday in U.S. District Court in Wheeling, W.Va., said the plaintiffs' attorney, Robert Schiavoni of the Martinsburg law firm of Hammer, Ferretti & Schiavoni.

All three were treated as salaried employees and given supervisory titles, but their primary duties were cleaning, Schiavoni said.

Because they were considered salaried employees, they were denied overtime pay, Schiavoni alleged. Under federal law, overtime pay is "time and a half" for any hours over 40 a week, he said.

A woman at Kellermeyer's Ohio headquarters said Monday the firm had not been served with the lawsuit and had no comment. She declined to identify herself other than to say she was an employee.


The plaintiffs are Cynthia Thomm, a former Kellermeyer branch manager; her son, Arthur Thomm, a former operations manager; and Shannon Kraushaar, a former site supervisor who worked at the Martinsburg Mall, according to the law firm.

They allege their primary duties were mopping, sweeping, dusting and general cleaning of malls and other commercial businesses in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, according to a statement released by the law firm.

"A worker's job title does not dictate whether the employee is exempt from the overtime laws," Schiavoni said in a prepared statement. "The real issue is what the worker actually does. These plaintiffs' primary duties did not qualify them as exempt."

By filing class-action lawsuits, the plaintiffs want to represent other branch managers, operations managers and site supervisors employed by Kellermeyer across the United States, according to the law firm.

"If these cases are certified as class-actions, it is expected that over 1,000 workers nationwide" could be part of the classes, the law firm said.

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