The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Bissoon*fn1
Plaintiffs‟ Motion for Court-facilitated notice to putative collective action members (Doc. 4) will be granted as described below.
Plaintiffs have brought this proposed collective/class action alleging, among other things, that Defendants (at times collectively, "UPMC") have violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). See generally Compl. (Doc. 1). Plaintiffs seek conditional certification of a collective action for the purposes of providing notification to potentially affected employees. See generally Pls.‟ Mot.
Plaintiffs propose that notice be sent to "all current and former hourly employees of . . . [D]efendants whose pay was subject to an automatic [meal break] deduction even when employees performed compensable work." See generally Pls.‟ Br. (Doc. 5) at 39. Plaintiffs allege, and Defendants have confirmed, that all of UPMC‟s approximately 30,000 non-exempt employees have thirty minutes automatically deducted for meal breaks when their workday reaches five hours in duration. See generally Defs.‟ Opp‟n Br. (Doc. 93) at 2, n.2, 5-6.
This is accomplished through a computer system known as "KRONOS," which tracks the time and attendance of hourly employees. See id. at 2 & n.2.
Non-exempt employees are the subject of Defendants‟ written "UPMC Compensation Manual." See generally id. at 5; see also excerpts of current Manual (attached as Ex. A to Doc. 92). Although different versions of the Manual have existed, Defendants advise that the relevant provisions have remained materially the same:
UPMC attempts to grant a 30-minute meal period for all employees even though meal periods are not required under the FLSA. Typically, this meal period is unpaid. However, meal periods must be counted as hours worked unless all three of the following conditions are met:
* The meal period must be scheduled for 30 minutes;
* The employee is completely relieved of all duties during the meal period; and
* The employee is free to leave the workstation or area.
If a non-exempt employee does not receive 20 consecutive minutes of uninterrupted time it will be considered work time and will be paid. Answering a page or beeper is considered to be an interruption. The time and attendance system (KRONOS) has an automatic feature that will deduct a 30 minute meal period after 5 hours of time worked. If an employee does not receive a meal period and it is to be recorded as time worked, it is the employee‟s responsibility to make sure the automatic [meal] deduction is cancelled via the manner designated by the department. Employees must immediately notify their supervisors if they are unable to appropriately record their time.
An hourly paid registered nurse begins a work shift at 8:00 a.m. and at 1:00 p.m. goes to the lunch room for a scheduled lunch break. The employee is interrupted by a page at 1:15 p.m. and responds by leaving the lunch room and returning to work. In this instance, the employee did not receive 20 consecutive minutes of uninterrupted time and the meal period is counted as hours worked.
This employee‟s time record is set up to automatically deduct a 30 minute meal period after 5 hours worked. In order for this employee to be paid for working through a meal period, the automatic meal deduction in KRONOS must be cancelled directly by the ...