United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Procedure — class actions
A lawsuit alleging overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act was properly certified as a class action.
“Despite Charter One’s best efforts to fit the present case into the Dukes mold, there are significant distinctions. Perhaps the most important distinction is the size of the class and the type of proof the Dukes plaintiffs were required to offer. See, e.g., Youngblood v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc., No. 09 Civ. 3176 (RMB), 2011 WL 4597555, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 4, 2011) (distinguishing Dukes on the ground that New York’s version of the FLSA does not require ‘an examination of the subjective intent behind millions of individual employment decisions’); Bouaphakeo v. Tyson Foods, Inc., No. 5:07-cv-04009- JAJ, 2011 WL 3793962, at *2 (N.D. Iowa Aug. 25, 2011) (reasoning that because ‘Dukes was a Title VII case, the focus of the inquiry in resolving each individual’s claim was “the reason for [the] particular employment decision”’). In Dukes, 1.5 million nationwide claimants were required to prove that thousands of store managers had the same discriminatory intent in preferring men over women for promotions and pay raises. Here, there are 1,129 Hourly class members and substantially fewer ABMs, all of whom are based only in Illinois. The plaintiffs’ IMWL claim requires no proof of individual discriminatory intent. Instead, the plaintiffs’ theory, supported by ninety-six Hourly class declarations and twenty-four ABM class declarations, is that Charter One enforced an unofficial policy in Illinois denying certain employees overtime pay that was lawfully due. All ninety-six Hourly declarations specifically allege that the declarant had been denied lawfully due overtime compensation. Eighty-nine declarations further allege that Charter One had a policy instructing the declarant not to record earned overtime. Meanwhile, the majority of the ABM declarants assert that they primarily performed non-exempt work. Although there might be slight variations in how Charter One enforced its overtime policy, both classes maintain a common claim that Charter One broadly enforced an unlawful policy denying employees earned-overtime compensation. This unofficial policy is the common answer that potentially drives the resolution of this litigation. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. at 2551.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Lefkow, J.,Kanne, J.