What’s Driving FLSA Lawsuits?


By: Jonathan Kandel  
It is no secret that the number of FLSA lawsuits has increased exponentially over the past few years.  As previously posted, one of the main factors is plaintiff’s attorneys aggressively seeking clients to file FLSA lawsuits. You might be asking why have plaintiff’s attorneys become so interested in FLSA lawsuits recently.  Like many legal questions, the answer may be found in a case.
A federal judge in Atlanta recently awarded two plaintiff’s attorneys fees in a FLSA case where the jury awarded the plaintiff $6,000 for unpaid overtime.  This part is not remarkable since the FLSA allows a prevailing plaintiff to recover reasonable attorney’s fees in addition to any owed back pay or overtime.  What is remarkable is that the attorney’s fees exceeded the unpaid overtime by almost 3,000 percent!  While the jury awarded the plaintiff $6,000 for unpaid overtime, her attorneys then received $173,000 for their fees and expenses.
The case is a good reminder of what’s at stake in most FLSA cases.  In most instances, the amount of unpaid overtime, if any, is not significant.  Instead, the real risk lies with the fees for the plaintiff’s attorney.