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Outside Salesperson Collective Action Defeated

Former employees of our client filed suit in Tennessee federal court under the Fair Labor Standards Act alleging that they and the class they purported to represent were misclassified as outside sales employees and were therefore deprived of the minimum wage and overtime. Their allegations included that they were required to spend the majority of their time on inside sales rather than outside sales, and that the company’s policy was not to enforce the outside nature of the position.

We defeated the hotly contested motion for conditional. In a jurisdiction in which the courts readily grant conditional certification in FLSA collective actions, the court issued an order denying certification of a company-wide class of sales representatives. The court agreed with our position that the plaintiffs had not met the fairly lenient standard of showing that they were similarly situated to the class they sought to represent. The court noted that the plaintiffs were not required to show a single violating policy, but rather establish that their claims were unified by common theories of statutory violations. While recognizing that individualized and distinct proof would not defeat the certification motion, the court held that variances in the way the class representatives performed their jobs showed they were not similar as to their status under the FLSA.

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