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Columbus Employment Attorneys / Blog / Automatic Deductions / Fresh Thyme Overtime Lawsuit For Unpaid Meal Breaks is Conditionally Certified as a National Collective Action

Fresh Thyme Overtime Lawsuit For Unpaid Meal Breaks is Conditionally Certified as a National Collective Action

Fresh Thyme Overtime Lawsuit

Our Overtime Attorneys’ Lawsuit against Fresh Thyme is conditionally certified nationally

The experienced unpaid overtime lawyers at Coffman Legal, along with Nilges Draher and Bryant Legal, filed a Collective Action Lawsuit against Lakes Venture, LLC dba Fresh Thyme Farmers Market (Fresh Thyme) on behalf of Fresh Thyme’s non-exempt employees at its 78 stores nationally for an unlawful meal break policy. The Fresh Thyme overtime lawsuit alleges that Fresh Thyme employees were not paid for all overtime work performed because of meal deductions were taken or applied regardless of whether employees had a 30-minute uninterrupted meal break.

On March 28, 2019, Coffman Legal, LLC (and several other firms) filed a Collective and Class Action Complaint against Fresh Thyme on behalf of Fresh Thyme’s hourly workers at all of its stores for Fresh Thyme’s meal deduction policy. The unpaid overtime lawsuit alleges that Fresh Thyme fails to pay its employees for all overtime work performed because employees are regularly unable to take a 30 minute meal break. The case is filed as a collective action (under the Fair Labor Standards Act).

The Complaint alleges that Fresh Thyme’s failure to pay hourly employees for all time working (including during missed or interrupted meal breaks) resulted in unpaid overtime in violation of the FLSA. In order for an employee not to be entitled to compensation during a meal break, such meal break must be a “bona fide meal period.” The applicable regulation states:

  • Bona fide meal periods are not worktime. Bona fide meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period. A shorter period may be long enough under special conditions. The employee is not relieved if he is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating. For example, an office employee who is required to eat at his desk or a factory worker who is required to be at his machine is working while eating.

The lawsuit seeks unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages in an amount equal to the unpaid overtime, attorney’s fees, and costs, among other things. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Louisville Division and is titled Marcum v. Lakes Venture, LLC dba Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Case No. 3:19-cv-231. Shortly after filing the case, our overtime attorneys sought conditional certification of the collective action – which includes permission to mail notice to all putative collective members. On November 24, 2020, the Court granted conditional certification of the proposed collective action and ordered that notice be mailed to all of Fresh Thyme’s hourly employees.  Notice of the conditionally certified collective against against Fresh Thyme for its alleged failure to pay all overtime wages earned will be mailed in the coming days or weeks. In order to join the collective against, Fresh Thyme’s hourly employees will be required to return a consent form that indicates their consent to join the case.

Additional information about the collective and class action against Fresh Thyme may be found by contacting our office by calling 614-949-1181 or emailing mcoffman@mcoffmanlegal.com. If you have any questions about whether you are being fully paid for all of your overtime work, then contact our office today to speak with our Overtime Attorneys regarding any wage and hour issues. Our firm is seeking the hard-earned overtime wages that we allege that Fresh Thyme failed to pay its hourly employees. Our firm will work tirelessly to ensure that our clients and those individuals affected receive the compensation they earned.

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