SUMMARY OF CASE
Asonye & Associates originally became involved in litigation against Group O, Inc. as a result of an employee's allegations of sexual harassment. Upon inspection of this employee's pay records, the attorneys determined that Group O's method of compensating its hourly workers was improper and in violation of state and federal laws. Group O is a staffing company and provider of logistics and supply chain services, and contracts with companies interested in outsourcing the management and labor costs of some portion of their manufacturing or distribution processes. This lawsuit is specific to Group O's pay policies as applied to its employees at a Joliet, Illinois facility owned by Caterpillar Inc. or "CAT", one of the world's largest heavy equipment manufacturers.
Group O employees worked at the CAT facility on a 24-hour basis, in three eight-hour shifts. In order to track its employees' work hours, Group O utilized an electronic timekeeping system. This system recorded employees' punch-in and punch-out times for the purpose of calculating employee wages. Asonye & Associates determined that, as result of Group O's timekeeping policies, employees frequently began their assigned duties prior to their scheduled start time and continued working after their scheduled shift-end time. However, employees were often not paid for this entire time. This resulted in employees regularly performing their job duties for the employer during time for which they were not paid. Wage payment policies that always "round" employees' clock-in and clock-out times in the employer's favor, and reduce wages paid to employees, violate several laws. These laws include the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act. Asonye & Associates also determined that Group O had regularly failed to ensure that employees were always able to take their meal periods when they worked full 8-hour shifts, which also violates several laws.
Currently, Asonye & Associates is overseeing two related lawsuits on behalf of former Group O, Inc. employees who worked at the CAT facility. One lawsuit was filed in 2012, and is currently pending in the state Circuit Court of the Twelfth Judicial District of Will County. The other lawsuit is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in downtown Chicago. Employees who wanted to participate in the federal litigation were required to "opt-in" to the case using a consent form that was mailed to all former Group O employees. However, all Group O employees who worked at the CAT facility from 2009 through 2013 were automatically added to the plaintiff class in the state court proceeding. Recently, Asonye & Associates sought class certification in the state court matter on behalf of a class of prospective plaintiffs. The court granted plaintiffs' motion, ruling that Asonye & Associates could proceed in representing all former employees of Group O who were affected by these misguided wage payment policies.
Litigation in both the state and federal matters is ongoing, as Asonye & Associates continues to work to represent the interests of all plaintiffs in these cases.