United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
SUSAN LEO, ROBERT BIEGEL, THERESA JONES, LUIS MORALES, BONNIE CHRISTIE, ANDREW GAMMILL, PAUL NAUGLE, RONALD SEEKFORD, and SHEILA SEEKFORD, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
SARASOTA COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, Defendant.
S. MOODY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE comes before the Court upon Plaintiffs' Motion for
an Order Permitting Court Supervised Notice to Employees of
Their Opt-In Rights (Dkt. 7) and Defendant's Response in
Opposition (Dkt. 16). The Court, having reviewed the motion,
response, and being otherwise advised in the premises,
concludes that the motion should be granted.
November 14, 2016, Plaintiffs,  who are current and/or former bus
drivers employed by Defendant, Sarasota County School Board,
filed this collective action under the Fair Labor Standards
Act (“FLSA”) alleging, in relevant part, that the
School Board failed to compensate them and others similarly
situated for overtime compensation. In summary, Plaintiffs
contend that the School Board did not compensate them for
time worked beyond the time estimated by the School Board to
complete their transportation routes.
School Board is a political subdivision of the State of
Florida subject to the Florida Public Employees Relations
Act, Chapter 447, Part II, Florida Statutes (the
“Act”). In accordance with the Act, the School
Board and the bargaining agent for its employees, the
Sarasota Classified/Teacher's Association (the
“SC/TA”), negotiated a collective bargaining
agreement (the “CBA”). Plaintiffs, as current
and/or former classified employees of the School Board, are
subject to the CBA. Some of the CBA's provisions are
relevant to the issue of Plaintiffs' compensation.
Specifically, the CBA states that classified employees shall
be paid overtime for hours in excess of forty in a workweek.
It also provides that employees shall be paid in accordance
with the FLSA.
respect to bus drivers, the CBA sets forth particularized
terms and conditions of their employment, including the
manner in which they are compensated. The School Board's
Transportation Department develops individual routes that
typically include multiple “runs” to different
schools in the morning and the afternoon. The estimated time
of each of these routes is then calculated using mapping
software to determine the actual projected driving time.
Included within the projected driving time is a certain
amount of time drivers lay over between schools, until the
next stop or pick-up. The projected driving time is then
rounded to the next highest one-half hour. After this
“rounding up” is accomplished, an additional 30
minutes is added to the route time. This process, known as
“roundup plus 30” is intended to compensate bus
drivers for the actual time they worked, including the
additional time they spent accomplishing non-driving tasks,
like fueling the bus, sweeping the bus, and dealing with
allege that the School Board's “roundup plus
30” policy did not fully compensate them for hours
worked in excess of forty in a workweek. Plaintiffs'
motion requests that the Court conditionally certify an FLSA
collective action of the School Board's current and
former school bus drivers who worked one or more weeks during
the three years from the filing of the complaint to the
present and were not paid overtime compensation for any hours
worked in excess of forty hours during a workweek.
motion is supported by Declarations of eight of the named
Plaintiffs in this action. The Declarations similarly state
that Plaintiffs were employed by the School Board as bus
drivers, regularly worked over forty hours in a workweek, and
the School Board failed to compensate them for the additional
hours worked, including overtime pay. The Declarations also
similarly aver that, based on their personal observations and
discussions with other bus drivers, the School Board fails to
compensate other school bus drivers for all of the hours they
worked, including overtime hours. Plaintiffs' motion
attaches a notice of consent to join from an additional
School Board bus driver, Patricia Bucholtz.
School Board opposes Plaintiffs' motion. The Court now
turns to the relevant law.
to the FLSA,
[a]n action to recover [unpaid minimum wage or overtime
compensation] may be maintained against any employer
(including a public agency) in any Federal or State court of
competent jurisdiction by any one or more employees for and
in behalf of himself or themselves and other employees
similarly situated. No employee shall be a party plaintiff to
any such action unless he gives his consent in writing to
become such a party and such consent is filed in the court in
which such action is brought.
29 U.S.C. §216(b).
Eleventh Circuit recommends a two-tiered procedure for
district courts to determine whether to certify a collective
action under §216(b). See Cameron-Grant v. Maxim
Healthcare Sys., 347 F.3d 1240, 1242 (11th Cir. 2003)
(citing Hipp v. Liberty Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 252
F.3d 1208, 1216 (11th Cir. 2001)). The first tier, known as
the notice stage, is relevant here. “At the notice
stage, the district court makes a decision-usually based only
on the pleadings and any affidavits which have been
submitted-whether notice of the action should be given to
potential class members.” Id. at 1243. The
Court must determine whether other employees desire to opt-in
and whether those employees are similarly situated. See
Dybach v. State of Fla. Dep't of ...