Hollis, et al. v. Valley Proteins, Inc.

A class action lawsuit was filed on March 19, 2021 against Valley Proteins, Inc. (“Valley Proteins”), on behalf of workers in their five (5) locations located in North Carolina. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. The lawsuit asserts that Valley Proteins, which has more than 2,000 employees, including over 600 current drivers, violates the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), as well as state wage and hour laws in North Carolina.

The lawsuit, Hollis, et al. v. Valley Proteins, Inc., asserts that Valley Proteins has failed to pay its Drivers, including raw materials drivers, finished goods drivers, “route” drivers, and/or grease trap drivers, all overtime due under federal and state wage and hour law. The suit alleges Valley Proteins did not compensate Plaintiffs for all hours worked, including mandatory pre-shift work. Valley Proteins required Plaintiffs to arrive at work prior to embarking on their assigned routes in order to begin their pre-route routine, such as pre-trip inspection tasks, including sanitizing the truck, checking fluids, fueling up, adding a tarp to the trailer, and generally ensuring the truck is in working order. While Plaintiffs were considered “on the clock,” Plaintiffs only received compensation after this work had been completed and when they are finally beginning their routes to transport their assigned loads. Plaintiffs allege that this is compensable time that should have been added to workers’ recorded hours, and that all hours over forty (40) per work week should have been paid at the overtime premium rate.

Plaintiffs also complain that while en route, Plaintiffs were required by Defendant to track the amount of “wait time” during the shift. Plaintiffs are instructed to automatically deduct one hour from the actual wait times, and, if they do not, dispatchers will cross them out, thereby reducing Plaintiffs’ hours. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant thus failed to pay regular and overtime wages for all hours worked including hours over forty (40).

Additionally, Plaintiffs allege that Defendant did not provide any advance written notice of its intent to make wage deductions, especially pertaining to the cost of uniforms.

Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from The Law Offices of Gilda A. Hernandez, PLLC.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is This a Class Action? What Does that Mean?

This case is both a potential class action under state law and a potential collective action under federal law.  Both class and collective actions provide a mechanism for a group of workers with similar claims to litigate those claims together in one case, and both require Court approval to proceed on a class basis.  We will be seeking certification in the near future.  The federal claims proceed under a collective action which only includes individuals who consent to join the case, as described below.  The state claims only apply to the specific states for which claims have been asserted, in this case: North Carolina. If certified by the Court, it will include all North Carolina Drivers who fall within the class definition.

Am I Eligible for the federal FLSA claim?

You may have a claim under the federal law if you fall within this collective definition:

All individuals who were, are, or will be employed by Defendant or performed work for Defendant in North Carolina at any time within the past three (3) years prior to the date of commencement of this action, through the date of judgment or final disposition in this action, and who were subject to Defendant’s compensation policy of only compensating for time spent on the road; subject to Defendant’s pre- and/or post-shift work policy and who did not receive compensation for all required pre- and/or post shift work or who worked forty (40) or more hours in at least one workweek in which undocumented work was performed; were deducted one (1) hour from their recorded wait time and who did not receive compensation for the hour deducted; and/or who were deducted from their wages, including, for example, the cost of uniforms without prior written notice or consent.

In order to make a claim, please complete a consent form (linked) and return it to our office.

Consent – Hollis, et al. v. Valley Proteins – Opt-In

Am I Eligible for the North Carolina State Wage and Hour Law Claims Against Valley Proteins?

You may have a claim under the state wage and hour law if you fall within this class definition:

All individuals who were, are, or will be employed by Defendant or performed work for Defendant in North Carolina at any time within the past two (2) years prior to the date of commencement of this action, through the date of judgment or final disposition in this action, and who were subject to Defendant’s compensation policy of only compensating for time spent on the road; subject to Defendant’s pre- and/or post-shift work policy and who did not receive compensation for all required pre- and/or post shift work; as such, did not receive all of their earned and accrued wages, including, but not limited to, promised, straight and/or overtime wages on their regular pay date, and were deducted one (1) hour from their recorded wait time and who did not receive compensation for the hour deducted; and/or who were deducted from their wages, including, for example, the cost of uniforms without prior written notice or consent.

In order to make a potential claim, please complete a consent form linked above and return it to our office. You can also sign up online by submitting the form below with your completed consent form.

Opt in Form