Overtime FLSA Case against Florida Power and Light for not paying employees during lunch

August 1, 2009

Florida Power and Light Attorney Maurice Arcadier estimates FP&L owes 2,000 employees a total of $55 million for unpaid lunch time since 2006.

Overtime Lawsuit against FPL for not paying linemen, groundmen and others for providing services to FPL during the alleged lunch break. Such employees monitored the radio, responded to questions, and were constricted in their movement (stay next to their trucks).

Eyewitness News, Channel 9, Orlando did a news story on October 28, 2009. (See news video as well)

FP&L Workers Suing Over Lunch Breaks
Posted: 5:55 pm EDT October 28, 2009
CENTRAL FLORIDA — Florida Power and Light (FP&L) is trying to convince state regulators to raise customers’ power bills by more than $10 per month. The company is also fighting its own employees in court, over millions in missed pay and it has to do with never getting a real lunch break.
Rick Hartwell retired after repairing power lines for Florida Power and Light for more than four decades, he says the company always put it’s bottom line before its employees.
FP&L is not making any money when the meters are not turning,’ Hartwell said.
READ: Statement From FP&L
In a lawsuit, Hartwell said FP&L requires lineman to eat lunch in their work trucks so they can listen to scanner traffic and quickly respond if a power line fails. But they are not paid for that time.
It’s not fair, there has to be a line drawn, he said.
Hartwell and 200 other FP&L workers filed a class action lawsuit to try and claim millions of dollars in unpaid overtime.
The statue of limitation for unpaid overtime is up to three years
Attorney Maurice Arcadier estimates FP&L owes 2,000 employees a total of $55 million for unpaid lunch time since 2006.
They are entitled to 30 minute lunch. Let them have it if not pay them. If you want to control them and require them to stay on the job pay them, Arcadier said.
Repairing lines is dangerous work and linemen are paid well, about $30 per hour on average.
Still, they say eating lunch in the cab of truck while listening to annoying scanner traffic is work and they should be paid.
You are not eating in peace you are not really resting, Arcadier said.
Arcadier says a group of Arizona health care workers who had to monitor patients while eating lunch won a similar suit. Hartwell is hoping for the same outcome. He’s expecting $17,000 from FP&L.
They are taking advantage of the working guy and trying to squeeze every bean out of us, Hartwell said.
Progress Energy allows its employees to leave their trucks to eat lunch as long as they can be reached by cell phone.
FP&L released a statement saying it doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits, but its employees are well compensated.

More Information: Eyewitness News, Channel 9, Orlando
Attorney: Maurice Arcadier
Status: Resolved
Date Filed: 8/1/2009

Our Melbourne office is centrally located in Brevard County, enabling our lawyers to serve clients throughout “the Space Coast”, including Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay and Vero Beach.