United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
BRIAN A. WEIL, MELISSA D. FULK, Plaintiffs,
Metal Technologies, INC., Defendant.
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
Brian A. Weil and Melissa D. Fulk filed a Complaint asserting
claims against Defendant Metal Technologies, Inc.
(“Metal Technologies”) for improper wage
deductions and failure to pay wages under the Fair Labor
Standard Act (“FLSA”) and the Indiana Wage
Payment Act (“IWPA”). [Filing No. 1.] The Court
conditionally certified one subclass under the FLSA and
certified two subclasses under Rule 23 and the IWPA. [Filing
No. 79.] Presently pending before the Court are Cross-Motions
for Partial Summary Judgment, [Filing No. 321; Filing No.
330], and Metal Technologies' Motion to Decertify several
of the subclasses, [Filing No. 332]. For the reasons that
follow, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART
Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, GRANTS
Metal Technologies' Motion to Decertify, and DENIES AS
MOOT Metal Technologies' Motion for Partial Summary
Technologies is a manufacturing facility located in
Bloomfield, Indiana that manufactures automobile parts for
car manufacturers like General Motors, Chrysler, Hyundai, and
Honda. [Filing No. 330-1 at 6.] Manufacturing employees work
one of three shifts: first shift, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30
p.m.; second shift, from 3:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.; or third
shift, from 11:00 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. [Filing No. 330-1 at 9.]
The shifts overlap by 30 minutes, and during that overlapping
time, employees are relieved of their duties by the next
shift's employees, and they use the remaining time to
clean up their work areas and exchange information about the
previous shift. [Filing No. 330-2 at 11.]
Technologies uses an electronic time clock to record the time
that each employee clocks in and out. [Filing No. 321-11 at
7.] Employees are required to take a 30-minute unpaid lunch
break, which they are instructed to clock in and out for.
[Filing No. 321-11 at 7.] Metal Technologies does not
calculate employees' pay based on their time-clock
punches, but instead pays employees based on their scheduled
shift times, minus an automatically deducted thirty-minute
lunch break. [Filing No. 54-1 at 9.] So employees are
typically paid for eight working hours per day. [Filing No.
54-1 at 9.] If an employee works more than eight hours per
day, she is required to complete an Overtime Authorization
Form in order to be paid for that additional time. [Filing
No. 330-1 at 10-11.]
Technologies has an Employee Manual (the
“Manual”), which is provided to and discussed
with all new employees. [Filing No. 330-7 at 2; Filing No.
321-1 at 108-09.] The first page of the Manual states that
“[t]he policies in this Manual are to be considered
guidelines. Metal Technologies, Inc. (MTI), at its option,
may change, delete, suspend or discontinue any part or parts
of the policies in this Manual at any time without prior
notice. … Employees may not accrue eligibility for
monetary benefits that they have not earned through actual
time spent at work.” [Filing No. 330-7 at 5.] The
Manual also includes the following sections relevant to the
Our regular office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday
through Friday. Your particular hours of work and the
scheduling of your lunch period will be determined and
assigned by your Plant Manager or shift supervisor. Most
employees are assigned to work a 40-hour workweek. You are
required to take a 30-minute unpaid lunch period daily.
Please understand that you may not "work through
lunch" in order to arrive late or to leave early or to
work extra time, unless approved by the Plant Manager.
No. 330-7 at 6];
Work Schedule & Rules The normal workweek consists of
five (5) days, eight (8) hours long, Monday through Friday.
You will be notified promptly whenever a change is necessaiy.
Should you have any questions concerning your work schedule,
please ask your sliift supervisor or Plant Manager.
No. 330-7 at 7];
Error in Pay
Every effort is made to avoid errors in your paycheck. If you
believe an error has been made, tell accounting immediately.
He or she wilt take the necessary steps to research the
problem and to assure that any necessary corrections are made
properly and promptly. We will then adjust your check the
No. 330-7 at 8];
From time to time, it may be necessaiy for you to perform
overtime work in order to complete a job on time. The Plant
Manager must approve all overtime in advance. When it is
necessaiy to work overtime, you are expected to cooperate as
a condition of your employment. There are two types of
• Scheduled Overtime: Scheduled overtime work is
announced in advance and generally will involve an entire
department or operation. This type of overtime becomes pail
of the required workweek of the people who are members of the
department or operation. If you need to be excused from
performing scheduled overtime, please speak with your group
leader or Shift Supervisor. He or she will consider your
situation and the requirements of the department or operation
in deciding whether you may be excused from performing the
• Incidental Overtime: Incidental overtime is not
scheduled; it becomes necessaiy in response to extenuating
circumstances. It is extra time needed to complete work
normally completed during regular hours. Incidental overtime
may become necessary when an illness or emergency keeps
co-workers from being at work as anticipated. It may require
you to return to the workplace for emergency work. The
opportunity to perform incidental overtime will be given
first to the employee who normally performs the task. If that
employee cannot perform the overtime, the Plant Manager will
offer the overtime to a suitably qualified person who is
available to perform the overtime work.
will be paid one and one-half (1-1/2) times your regular
hourly wage for any time over forty (40) hours per week that
you work. If, during that week, you were away from the job
because of a paid holiday or vacation taken in single-day
increments those hours will he counted as hours worked for
the purpose of computing eligibility for overtime pay.
No. 330-7 at 8-9];
Time Clock Records
By law, we are obligated to keep accurate records of the time
worked by employees. This is done by either time clocks or
other written documentation.
Your time punch is the only way the payroll department knows
how many hours you worked and how much to pay you. Your time
punch indicates when you arrived and when you departed. You
are to punch in and out for lunch and for brief absences like
a doctor or dentist's appointment. All employees are
required to keep Human Resources, their cell leader or Shift
Supervisor advised of their departures from and returns to
the premises during die workday.
You are responsible for your time punch. Remember to record
your time. If you forget to punch in or make an error on
youxpuneh, a "missed punch form" must be filled out
with the Shift Supervisor or cell leader initials next to it
for approval and Human Resources must be notified. Cell
leader and Shift Supervisor time tickets require the Plant
Manager's approval. You are not permitted to punch in
more than 15 minutes before your scheduled starting time nor
more than 15 minutes after your scheduled quirting time
without the group leader or Shift Supervisor's approval.
This would be considered unapproved overtime.
No one may record hours worked on another's punch or time
slip for any reason. Tampering with yours or another's
time punch is cause for disciplinary action, including
possible immediate dismissal, of both employees. Do not alter
another person's record, or influence anyone else to
alter your record for you. In the event of an error in
recording your time, please report the matter to Human
Resources, your group leader, or your Shift Supervisor
[Filing No. 321-11 at 7]. The Manual also outlines
disciplinary policies through the use of a point system for
attendance, tardiness, and early departures. [Filing No.
321-11 at 4-6.]
Technologies has submitted affidavits and deposition
testimony from more than 20 plaintiffs attesting that
although they sometimes clocked in and out before their
scheduled shift times, they did not perform work-related
activities during those minutes. [Filing No. 332-9.] James
Lynch attested, for example, that if he arrived before his
scheduled start time, he would clock in and then eat
breakfast in the break room. [Filing No. 332-9 at 13-14.]
Alissa Murray stated that when she clocked in before her
scheduled shift, she would retrieve work items from her
locker and go to the break room to get a drink. [Filing No.
332-9 at 1.] Tobias Padgett attested that he spent his
pre-shift clocked in time socializing and getting snacks from
the vending machines. [Filing No. 332-9 at 30-31.] Jerry May
stated that he clocked in immediately after arriving, and
then would typically wait in the “smoke shack” or
the break room “until it is time to start work.”
[Filing No. 330-8 at 31.] These employees all attested that
they did not perform work prior to the start of their shifts,
and that there was no work-related reason for them to clock
in early. [Filing No. 332-1 at 1-30.] Barbara Haithcock
attested that, when she arrived, there were usually at least
20 other employees waiting in the break room for their shift
to start. [Filing No. 330-8 at 13.] Kirbie Conrad, Metal
Technologies' Human Resources Manager, testified that she
often saw numerous employees in the break room before their
scheduled shifts. [Filing No. 330-7 at 1.]
plaintiffs also testified that they would clock out after the
end of their scheduled shifts, but would not perform
work-related activities. For example, Brandon Alcorn stated
that he sometimes clocked out a few minutes after the end of
his shift because he “lost track of time, ” but
that he was not performing work duties. [Filing No. 332-9 at
5.] Many employees testified that if they worked beyond the
end of their scheduled shift times, they submitted Overtime
Authorization Forms and were compensated for that time.
[Filing No. 332 at 5-28.]
Work Clothing Deductions
January 20, 2013 (two years prior to the filing of this
lawsuit-the lookback period within the applicable statute of
limitations) through the present, Metal Technologies took
wage deductions from employees for work clothing. [Filing No.
321-1 at 78-79.] These deductions are reflected on
employees' pay stubs. [Filing No. 321-1 at 78-79.] On
April 11, 2016, Metal Technologies distributed and employees
signed an updated “Premiums and Deductions” form
which details the clothing deduction. [Filing No. 321-5.]
filed their Complaint in this Court on January 20, 2015.
[Filing No. 1.] Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Certify a
Combined Class Action and FLSA Collective Action on September
1, 2015, [Filing No. 53], which this Court granted in part
and denied in part, [Filing No. 79]. Following the issuance
of notice, some party plaintiffs have opted in to the
collective action and some potential class members have opted
out of the class action. [See, e.g., Filing No. 104; Filing
No. 125.] The parties have also conducted discovery.
pending before the Court are Cross-Motions for Partial
Summary Judgment, [Filing No. 321; Filing No. 330], and Metal
Technologies' Motion to Decertify Plaintiffs'
Combined FLSA Collective Action and Class Action with Respect
to the Pre- and Post-Shift Time Claim (“Motion to
Decertify”), [Filing No. 332]. The Court addresses the
pending motions in the following order: Plaintiffs'
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, Metal Technologies'
Motion to Decertify, and Metal Technologies' Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment.
Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
Plaintiffs move for partial summary judgment on the issue of
liability for violations of the IWPA and the FLSA, regarding
both their wage deduction and timekeeping claims. [Filing No.
motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a
trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and, instead, the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). As the
current version of Rule 56 makes clear, whether a party
asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely disputed, the
party must support the asserted fact by citing to particular
parts of the record, including depositions, documents, or
affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party can also
support a fact by showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute or
that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or
declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out
facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the
affiant is competent to testify on matters stated.