Texas Self-Storage Operators Sued in Federal Court for Alleged Wage Violations

Two Texas self-storage operators have been sued in federal court for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child-labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers. FLSA generally requires employers pay workers at least the federal minimum wage and overtime at 1.5 times their hourly rate when exceeding 40 hours in a work week, unless exempt.

“These lawsuits serve as a reminder to operators of the need to fully vet any decision to classify an employee as exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements,” officials of the national Self Storage Association (SSA) wrote in a May 7 e-mail newsletter to members. “The often overlapping state and federal requirements are complex.” The cases being referenced were not specified.

Last year, a former employee of Texas-based Metro Mini Storage Inc. filed a lawsuit against the self-storage company and director Lorraine Drake alleging breach of contract for unpaid overtime wages. Michael Alford claims he was paid for hours worked only between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The lawsuit states he was terminated after filing a protected complaint against the company in 2014.

In 2015, two former self-storage managers of Al’s Mini Storage in Beaumont, Texas, sued owner Jim Speed over alleged unpaid wages and overtime. Arretta and Frederick Lawson claimed they regularly worked at least 80 hours per week while serving as resident managers from Aug. 26 to Sept. 25, but didn’t receive any paid wages. They were provided with a rent-free apartment.

At least eleven FLSA cases involving self-storage operators have been filed nationwide since 2012, according to Justia, a website that tracks dockets and case filings across federal appellate and district courts.

Sources:
The Monday Morning Globe 5/7/18, Texas Operators Sued in Federal Court for Alleged Wage Violations
Justia, FLSA Cases Involving Self-Storage

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