Publisher settles lawsuit

Publisher settles lawsuit

There are 57 comments on the GoErie.com story from Aug 18, 2008, titled Publisher settles lawsuit. In it, GoErie.com reports that:

A settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit that alleged the former Corry Publishing Inc.

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John

Annapolis, MD

#1 Aug 18, 2008
Sounds like Corry Publishing changed its name to Jameson Publishing to disassociate itself from the law suit and that they have pretty questionable work ethics.
Willie Bell

Stow, OH

#2 Aug 18, 2008
what a joke, this company gets so much praise around town, yet deserves very little
Zack

Jacksonville, FL

#3 Aug 20, 2008
John wrote:
Sounds like Corry Publishing changed its name to Jameson Publishing to disassociate itself from the law suit and that they have pretty questionable work ethics.
I don't think "work ethic" is the right phrase. Perhaps "character" would be more accurate.
no name

Waterford, PA

#5 Aug 22, 2008
I wonder if this is directly related to the recent round of layoffs?
maxmillian

Lorain, OH

#6 Aug 23, 2008
Corry Publishing pays their employees very well. The employees are salaried employees, and the plaintiffs used loopholes to get more money out of the company. They were compensated very generously.
Floyd

Erie, PA

#7 Aug 23, 2008
Who cares if Corry/Jameson Publishing had to fork over some of their mountain of dough?! They've got more than enough to go around! This won't break them!
no name

Vermilion, OH

#8 Aug 23, 2008
sounds like you secretly work there - are in management - and trying to save face :)
no name

Vermilion, OH

#9 Aug 23, 2008
for whoever wrote this "Corry Publishing pays their employees very well. The employees are salaried employees, and the plaintiffs used loopholes to get more money out of the company. They were compensated very generously. "
Realist

Pittsburgh, PA

#10 Aug 25, 2008
no name wrote:
for whoever wrote this "Corry Publishing pays their employees very well. The employees are salaried employees, and the plaintiffs used loopholes to get more money out of the company. They were compensated very generously. "
I don't work there, but know people who do. It's a true statement. That company pays extremely well, and has great benefits. In return, they demand a lot from their employees in terms of travel, work, and good behavior.
Poppy

Jacksonville, FL

#11 Aug 26, 2008
"Good behavior?" Why don't they START with good behavior and obey the law? You think they settled on this law suit because they did nothing wrong? We have things called "LAWS" and they preach all high and mighty about "high character" employees and yet they got busted - allegedly - not paying for over time in a manner required by the Fair Labor Act. The LAW says you pay 1.5X for over time. According to their OWN company policy and procedure manuals, they did not do that. So they preach "high character, world-class employees, blah, blah, blah, look at us, we are so superior and righteous" and yet, when it came down to it, they didn't even practice their own pious crap that they preach ad nauseam from their ivory tower. And this isn't even the first time they got busted for forcing over time work and not paying for it required by law. They got busted for it by the state and had to pay people back then as well. Same company, busted for it twice. Oh, this time, allegedly. They "settled" this time. Read into that what you will. If they didn't do anything wrong, would they just volunteer to pay these people for no reason? Who knows, right? But they did initially try to fight these people off with a myriad of lawyers. And then, just like that, they settled. Inquiring minds want to know why. The last paragraph of that article is very interesting.
Realist

Pittsburgh, PA

#12 Aug 26, 2008
Poppy wrote:
"Good behavior?" Why don't they START with good behavior and obey the law? You think they settled on this law suit because they did nothing wrong? We have things called "LAWS" and they preach all high and mighty about "high character" employees and yet they got busted - allegedly - not paying for over time in a manner required by the Fair Labor Act. The LAW says you pay 1.5X for over time. According to their OWN company policy and procedure manuals, they did not do that. So they preach "high character, world-class employees, blah, blah, blah, look at us, we are so superior and righteous" and yet, when it came down to it, they didn't even practice their own pious crap that they preach ad nauseam from their ivory tower. And this isn't even the first time they got busted for forcing over time work and not paying for it required by law. They got busted for it by the state and had to pay people back then as well. Same company, busted for it twice. Oh, this time, allegedly. They "settled" this time. Read into that what you will. If they didn't do anything wrong, would they just volunteer to pay these people for no reason? Who knows, right? But they did initially try to fight these people off with a myriad of lawyers. And then, just like that, they settled. Inquiring minds want to know why. The last paragraph of that article is very interesting.
The FLSA is a confusing law that leaves a lot open to interpretation. The recent changes to the Act did little to ease that confusion for a lot of companies. Essentially, you do the best you can, and hope you're doing things the same as whichever DOL investigator shows up. Really, it's that vague.
Poppy

Jacksonville, FL

#13 Aug 26, 2008
Realist wrote:
<quoted text>
The FLSA is a confusing law that leaves a lot open to interpretation. The recent changes to the Act did little to ease that confusion for a lot of companies. Essentially, you do the best you can, and hope you're doing things the same as whichever DOL investigator shows up. Really, it's that vague.
Well, the Fair Labor Act isn't that vague. IF you make your non-management employees work over 40 hours, you must pay them time and one-half for those hours. So, if you don't manage anyone, and are required to work over 40 hours, INCLUDING traveling, trade shows, coming in early or leaving late, the LAW says you are to be paid 1.5 times your wages for those hours. If you read the "P&P" company manuals included in the suit, you can plainly see they weren't even paying 100% of salary but only 80%, according to their own handbooks. 80% falls way short of 150%. And if it was so super vague, I am curious as to why they settled. Is it "high character" to not pay people - allegedly - what the law requires? And were there any other instances in company history when they were penalized for not paying over time in the past? Did you note this little gem in the article that was published? Very interesting.

"The plaintiffs had filed a motion to certify the case as a collective action. They wanted the court to order the defendants to hand over the companies' 200-plus employees' addresses so that they could be notified of the lawsuit.

The case was settled before that motion could be ruled on, however."

http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article...
Realist

Pittsburgh, PA

#14 Aug 26, 2008
Poppy wrote:
<quoted text>
Well, the Fair Labor Act isn't that vague. IF you make your non-management employees work over 40 hours, you must pay them time and one-half for those hours. So, if you don't manage anyone, and are required to work over 40 hours, INCLUDING traveling, trade shows, coming in early or leaving late, the LAW says you are to be paid 1.5 times your wages for those hours. If you read the "P&P" company manuals included in the suit, you can plainly see they weren't even paying 100% of salary but only 80%, according to their own handbooks. 80% falls way short of 150%. And if it was so super vague, I am curious as to why they settled. Is it "high character" to not pay people - allegedly - what the law requires? And were there any other instances in company history when they were penalized for not paying over time in the past? Did you note this little gem in the article that was published? Very interesting.
"The plaintiffs had filed a motion to certify the case as a collective action. They wanted the court to order the defendants to hand over the companies' 200-plus employees' addresses so that they could be notified of the lawsuit.
The case was settled before that motion could be ruled on, however."
http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article...
There's so much more to it than that. You also have professional employees and commissioned sales employees. You can have arrangements in place where a set number of hours is compensated (over 40) for a flat amount, and you only have to pay OT after that number. For example, if I enter a job where I'm to make $20 per hour, and the employer sets my "salary" at $1,000 per week, then I'm expected to work approximately 46-47 hours per week (that figures in the time and a half number in advance).

As for why they would settle, that's easy. It's often cheaper to pay a questionable lawsuit than to fight it out and pay a lot of money to lawyers. Now they'll modify their policies to match what the DOL is claiming they should do. The class action end is specious. With a defined number of people as low as what they're talking, it's not a "class action;" instead it would be a significant number of plaintiffs, that's all.
Poppy

Jacksonville, FL

#15 Aug 26, 2008
Realist wrote:
<quoted text>

As for why they would settle, that's easy. It's often cheaper to pay a questionable lawsuit than to fight it out and pay a lot of money to lawyers. Now they'll modify their policies to match what the DOL is claiming they should do. The class action end is specious. With a defined number of people as low as what they're talking, it's not a "class action;" instead it would be a significant number of plaintiffs, that's all.
Ah, it looks like I am speaking to one of the lawyers for the Petersons, huh? Come on. Come clean. Apply "high character" and admit it. Any how, if the suit was so vague, etc. why did they begin to fight it at all, and go through so much expense and time and energy? Why even begin to fight it, as they most certainly did? If it's cheaper and less expensive to just pay up, why didn't they figure that out BEFORE shelling out so much $ to fight it? This has been going on for a fairly long time - you know that, right?
And, your point about it not being a class action, what if the motion to mail the 200 employees had been ruled on to greenlight? You don't find it interesting that as that motion was to be ruled on is the same time that they decided to settle? No connection? They didn't care if the 200 employees could be mailed detailing this suit, right? Imagine if they were looking at 50 people who had not been paid time and a half for over time as opposed to 10?
And, you _are_ familiar with their previous trouble regarding this exact same thing in the past, namely, getting in trouble for not paying over time to employees who they were mandating to work over time? They also had to pay those people after the fact.
With the company always going on and on and on about "high character" I find it quite extraordinary that they find themselves taken to task over such things, whether they settle a suit or not. The law states that non-managers must be paid 150% of their salary when working over 40 hours. Their own corporate handbooks stated they paid merely 80%, just over HALF of what the law states, very clearly, that they are to pay employees when they are required to work over time. Dance around that issue with your tap shoes, but it's pretty black and white. And if it was merely a case of it being cheaper to settle than go through the courts, and not a case of them breaking the stated laws, I am curious why they choose to fight for so long to begin with. Why would anyone choose to go that route, and then settle after many months if it was so clear that they were not going to lose the judgment? That's weird, wacky stuff.
Peterson Bros. Publishing, Corry Publishing, Jameson Publishing...whatever you want to call them: they settled this case after months and months and months of pouring cash into fighting it. And this settlement came at the same time that a motion was to be ruled on to allow the plaintiffs' attorney firm to mail to 200 (past and present?) employees making them aware of this case. How many of the 200 could also make a case for not being paid within the law for their over time work? Whether it be Peterson Bros. Publishing, Corry Publishing or Jameson Publishing, we may never know.
But this, we do know.
"The plaintiffs had filed a motion to certify the case as a collective action. They wanted the court to order the defendants to hand over the companies' 200-plus employees' addresses so that they could be notified of the lawsuit.
The case was settled before that motion could be ruled on, however."
http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article...
Poppy

Jacksonville, FL

#16 Aug 26, 2008
Realist wrote:
<quoted text>
There's so much more to it than that. You also have professional employees and commissioned sales employees. You can have arrangements in place where a set number of hours is compensated (over 40) for a flat amount, and you only have to pay OT after that number. For example, if I enter a job where I'm to make $20 per hour, and the employer sets my "salary" at $1,000 per week, then I'm expected to work approximately 46-47 hours per week (that figures in the time and a half number in advance).
Ahhh, wait a minute. Nice try, but the company handbook stated that all employees work a 40.5 hour work week. Thus, anything over those hours would be considered over time, so your little example doesn't hold water here.
Realist

Pittsburgh, PA

#17 Aug 26, 2008
I'm not a lawyer for the Petersons. However, I do know how FLSA litigation works. If you're convinced you're right, you fight, until such time as your investment in the litigation stops making sense. It's a balance you figure out.

As for the example, it was just that -- an example. Oh, I DO know that the 80 percent is something they pay to those employees they believe ARE exempt for hours worked over the regular work week. It's not a matter of trying to cheat the law; it's a matter of trying to offer a better benefit to people who otherwise wouldn't get overtime. I'll bet that goes away, though. Leave it to a small group to ruin things for everyone else.
Poppy

Jacksonville, FL

#18 Aug 27, 2008
Realist wrote:
I'm not a lawyer for the Petersons. However, I do know how FLSA litigation works. If you're convinced you're right, you fight, until such time as your investment in the litigation stops making sense. It's a balance you figure out.
As for the example, it was just that -- an example. Oh, I DO know that the 80 percent is something they pay to those employees they believe ARE exempt for hours worked over the regular work week. It's not a matter of trying to cheat the law; it's a matter of trying to offer a better benefit to people who otherwise wouldn't get overtime. I'll bet that goes away, though. Leave it to a small group to ruin things for everyone else.
OK, so in your example, you used #s that don't reflect this specific case. Corry Publishing specified that everyone worked a 40.5 week. And, nice try, but those people who were being paid 80% of their wages most certainly qualified to receive what the Fair Labor Act stated, which was 150% of their wages. I'm sure the Petersons would love to fly that trial balloon, pretending they were trying to give partial over time pay to those people who were not qualified to receive ANY, but is that really true? the FLA includes paying sales people who make commission as those who do indeed qualify to earn OT pay. And certainly to those who work in production or editorial, unless you qualify as managers. So, who in the 10 people in the suit were managing employees? I'm all ears. If these employees were so undeserving of time and one-half OT pay, I'm sure that's why Petersons settled. It had nothing to do with the upcoming motion where they were going to mail to an additional 200 employees or anything, right? If their practices were so iron clad, why fear mailing the extra 200 people? If they only paid the 80% OT to people who weren't qualified to receive ANY OT, what's the worry?
WHAT

Edinboro, PA

#19 Aug 27, 2008
Realist wrote:
I'm not a lawyer for the Petersons. However, I do know how FLSA litigation works. If you're convinced you're right, you fight, until such time as your investment in the litigation stops making sense. It's a balance you figure out.
As for the example, it was just that -- an example. Oh, I DO know that the 80 percent is something they pay to those employees they believe ARE exempt for hours worked over the regular work week. It's not a matter of trying to cheat the law; it's a matter of trying to offer a better benefit to people who otherwise wouldn't get overtime. I'll bet that goes away, though. Leave it to a small group to ruin things for everyone else.
I believe someone has drunk the "Corry Kool-Aid"
Realist

Pittsburgh, PA

#20 Aug 28, 2008
WHAT wrote:
<quoted text>
I believe someone has drunk the "Corry Kool-Aid"
No, I'm just someone who has seen a crapload of litigation with government agencies where regulations are applied inconsistently by different field offices or even different investigators from the same field office.
Realist

Pittsburgh, PA

#21 Aug 28, 2008
Poppy wrote:
<quoted text>
OK, so in your example, you used #s that don't reflect this specific case. Corry Publishing specified that everyone worked a 40.5 week. And, nice try, but those people who were being paid 80% of their wages most certainly qualified to receive what the Fair Labor Act stated, which was 150% of their wages. I'm sure the Petersons would love to fly that trial balloon, pretending they were trying to give partial over time pay to those people who were not qualified to receive ANY, but is that really true? the FLA includes paying sales people who make commission as those who do indeed qualify to earn OT pay. And certainly to those who work in production or editorial, unless you qualify as managers. So, who in the 10 people in the suit were managing employees? I'm all ears. If these employees were so undeserving of time and one-half OT pay, I'm sure that's why Petersons settled. It had nothing to do with the upcoming motion where they were going to mail to an additional 200 employees or anything, right? If their practices were so iron clad, why fear mailing the extra 200 people? If they only paid the 80% OT to people who weren't qualified to receive ANY OT, what's the worry?
Actually, you are wrong. There are production and editorial positions (by classification) that could meet the professional exemption. Also, commissioned sales people, if they meet the requirements of the FLSA regulations, are not entitled to OT.

You can also have exemptions for highly-compensated employees, which some of the employees at Corry Publishing would be. Under the recent changes to the FLSA, those people have to have specific types of roles and make more than $100,000 per year. The sticking point would come in if those people were considered HCE's and didn't make the $100,000 by the time year-end came. Then there are some intricate rules about catch-up compensation, etc.

Let's say I believe a group of employees meets the professional exemption. They're highly skilled in a trade that requires specialized training, in my opinion. Yet an investigator from the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL steps in and says, "There are times where you could find someone in the general population without a degree who could do this job." Now according to that investigator, you don't qualify for the exemption, even if everything you believe about the position is correct, and another investigator would disagree.

While I'm vaguely familiar with some of the people at Corry Publishing, having run into them at professional conferences, etc., I don't know what their specific situation was. I'm just pointing out there are a lot of times where someone tries to comply with the law, and the government disagrees. So you do your best, you argue your position, and if you get to a point where it makes sense to settle because of the time and expense involved in litigation, you settle. If not, you fight it, and see what happens.

By the way, if the DOL thought this was as egregious as you seem to be claiming, the plaintiffs wouldn't have had to get an attorney -- the DOL would have brought suit and would have also pursued a willful violation, which has greater penalties.

Oh, and if it's such a crappy place to work, leave (or tell whoever you know that works there to leave). Life's too short to work at a job where you're so miserable.

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