DC Public School Security Guard Contractor FLSA Win

December 8, 2014

Murphy Anderson distributed checks to dozens of security guards in D.C. as part of the settlement of a wage-and-hour lawsuit recently approved by Judge Bates in U.S. District Court in DC. The guards worked for two companies – U.S. Security Associates and Watkins Security Agency – which had contracts with the DC schools to provide security guards at DC elementary and middle schools. These two companies deducted from the guards' checks thirty minutes of pay every day for a supposed "meal break." During those "meal breaks," however, the companies required the guards to remain on the premises, to listen to their radios, and to intervene as needed in any security situations.

On behalf of four guards, Murphy Anderson filed suit against those two companies in 2012, alleging violations of the FLSA and DC law. Over the strong objections of the defendants, Judge Bates granted our motion to certify a collective (opt-in) action. Approximately 50% of eligible guards opted into the class. The parties conducted limited discovery into damages and then agreed to mediation overseen by U.S. Magistrate Judge Facciola. All told, the companies paid out just under half a million dollars plus attorneys' fees to 130 guards and former guards.

Arlus J. Stephens was the lead lawyer in the case. Michael T. Anderson, Renee Gerni, Lorrie Bradley and Mark Hanna assisted.