On July 13, 2020, a caretaker initiated a putative class and collective action against his employers FirstService Residential, Inc. and FirstService Residential Minnesota, Inc. (collectively “FirstService”). According to the Complaint, FirstService provides caretakers with a monthly housing credit (to cover items such as rent, utilities, garage stalls, and other amenities) as part of their compensation but did not include that income when calculating the caretakers’ overtime rate of pay as required by law. This resulted in an artificially low overtime rate of pay when the caretakers worked overtime hours and shorted them overtime wages they were owed.
The action also alleges that FirstService breached written contracts promising caretakers the extra benefit of being paid at an overtime premium rate for certain hours worked over 30 in a workweek, rather than the typical 40 hours. Rather than honoring that promise, the caretaker asserts that FirstService only paid overtime after 40 hours in a workweek.
The lawsuit is filed as a putative collective action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and a class action under Minnesota state laws. The action seeks to recover unpaid overtime compensation for caretakers across the country and seeks an award of liquidated (double) damages.
Michele Fisher, a partner at Nichols Kaster, PLLP who represents the caretakers, stated, “the law is clear that earnings in the form of a housing credit must be factored in when an employer is calculating an employee’s overtime rate of pay. Through this case we seek to get caretakers paid what the law mandates they are owed and to hold these companies accountable for the unfulfilled promises they made to induce the workers to accept the job.”
FirstService Residential is North America’s largest manager of private residential communities, offering a full range of services across multiple geographies to a wide variety of clients, including condominiums, co-operatives, homeowner associations, master-planned communities, active adult and lifestyle communities, and a variety of other residential developments.
The caretakers are represented by Michele R. Fisher from Nichols Kaster, PLLP, which has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota and San Francisco, California. The case is entitled, Borowske v. FirstService Residential, Inc., and FirstService Residential Minnesota, Inc., Case No.: 0:20-cv-01564 (District of Minnesota).
Additional information about how to make a claim in the case may be found at www.nka.com or by calling Nichols Kaster, PLLP at (612) 256-3200.