Ms. Hernandez has been a wage and hour practitioner for nearly 25 years, first as a government official for the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division and then as an attorney. She has a breadth of experience in complex civil litigation matters, and she has served as counsel in large wage and hour class actions involving thousands of employees. She is a tenacious and passionate litigator who works tirelessly for her clients. Before launching her own law practice, she worked for a mid-size firm in Raleigh, NC where she built a wage and hour practice from the ground up.
In 1997, Ms. Hernandez started her wage and hour career as a government official with the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division in Los Angeles, CA. She initiated field investigations of industrial, agricultural, and other business establishments to obtain compliance with federal labor and immigration laws; enforced immigration programs under the amended H-1(B) program of INA and employment eligibility; enforced federal labor laws regarding minimum or prevailing wage rates, overtime pay, family medical leave, wage garnishment, migrant safety and health protection, government contracts and similar matters related to employment and hours worked. She worked closely with employers to ensure their understanding of the requirements of the law and advised them on how to reach and maintain compliance.
Currently, Ms. Hernandez’s practice is focused on representing individual plaintiffs and plaintiffs in complex collective and class action litigation for alleged violations of the FLSA, NCWHA, and any other state’s wage and hour laws. Additionally, Ms. Hernandez has been interviewed for and appeared on television, radio, and in print media discussing relevant wage and hour issues affecting employees in various industries subject to the FLSA and the NCWHA.
Employment Wage And Hour Class Trial And Litigation
Ms. Hernandez was lead counsel in Guererro v. Pro Klean, Inc., (Mecklenburg Superior Ct), the first of its kind wage and hour class action in North Carolina, successfully tried, resulting in a plaintiffs’ verdict, awarding class member damages, liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of approximately $425,000.00 for 40 class members.
Wage And Hour Class Actions
Currently, Ms. Hernandez is lead class counsel in Pontones v. San Jose Restaurant, Inc. (E.D.N.C.). In October 2019, the Court certified the matter as a collective/class action pursuant to the FLSA and R.23 of the NCWHA, finding that servers from a Mexican restaurant chain alleged common illegal pay practices, including a failure to pay minimum wage, overtime for hours over 40, and illegal deductions from their pay.
Ms. Hernandez is also lead class counsel in Lewis v. Precision Concepts Group, LLC. (M.D.N.C.). In July 2019, the Court certified the matter as a collective/class action pursuant to the FLSA and R.23 of the NCWHA, finding that manufacturing employees alleged common illegal pay practices. The employees allege they were not paid for all pre- and post-shift hours worked. The employees also allege that the employer illegally rounded their electronic clock-in and clock-out times, and illegally struck-out recorded overtime on manually completed timesheets. Specifically, the employees seek unpaid overtime compensation and straight-time wages on their regular pay day.
Ms. Hernandez was co-lead counsel in Rindfleisch et al v. Gentiva Health Services Inc., (N.D. Ga.), in which nurses and other home health care providers were held to be non-exempt because they were not paid on either a bona fide salaried or fee basis. Despite a successful summary judgment ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, the case was decertified. Nonetheless, the parties have reached a resolution in this matter that all parties believe was resolved favorably on behalf of the remaining 150 plaintiffs.
In Cook v. Amedisys Inc., (D. Ct.), a lawsuit challenging similar practices as the Gentiva litigation, Ms. Hernandez, as co-lead class counsel, represented approximately 2,000 nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists pursuing wage and hour claims against Amedisys; the case settled recently for $8 million.
Ms. Hernandez was also lead class counsel against a tree service company in a collective/class action pursuant to the FLSA and NCHWHA, where a class of approximately 120 laborers sought unpaid straight-time and overtime wages lawfully due, which settled in 2019 for $3 million. Ms. Hernandez has also represented several thousand pork processing employees in three separate actions where employees alleged violations pursuant to the FLSA and the NCWHA for unpaid hours worked. The settlement reached was for $2 million.
In 2012, Ms. Hernandez was selected by Super Lawyers as a North Carolina “Rising Star” in Employment and Labor Law. She was also recognized for excellence, as one of North Carolina’s “Outstanding Young Lawyers in Employment and Labor Law” by Charlotte Magazine.
Professional and Community Activities
- National Employment Lawyers Association
- National Employment Law Project
- North Carolina Bar Association
- Tenth Judicial District Bar
Ms. Hernandez graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B.A. in Criminal Justice and Southwestern University School of Law, (JD, December 2004.)
Ms. Hernandez is fluent in Spanish, written & spoken.