Sprint Corp. settled an overtime pay dispute with 153 employees this summer and now faces a second lawsuit on the same complaint.
In each case, employees claim they were required to under-report hours worked and work outside of their paid hours.
Former Sprint employee Tijuana Mingo filed the new lawsuit on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. She followed in the footsteps of Michael McGlon, a Lee’s Summit resident and Sprint employee who sued in February of last year – the case that led to a $365,000 settlement.
Mingo hadn’t worked at Sprint since February 2015 and hadn’t heard about that first lawsuit. But a former coworker she kept in touch with had been covered by the settlement.
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“She asked me about it, and I didn’t know anything about it,” Mingo said.
Mingo contacted the attorneys who handled the case, as did several others as word of the settlement spread.
“You expect one or two of those, maybe a half dozen,” attorney Brent Hankins said of the calls from employees who didn’t know about the first lawsuit. “For the better part of 10 days or two weeks, I was probably getting two calls a day.”
So Mingo, with help from the attorneys, brought the second suit.
A Sprint spokeswoman declined to comment other than to say the company would respond to Mingo’s lawsuit in court.
In both cases, employees complained that Sprint required them to report 40 hours of work each week, or reported that for them, though the company knew they had worked more than 40 hours. McGlon claimed last year that he was working 60 hours a week and getting paid for 40.
Mingo claimed in the new lawsuit that she worked an average of 45 to 50 hours a week, providing assistance and selling products to mostly business customers of Sprint.
She sometimes worked additional hours on Saturday, including coming into Sprint’s Overland Park headquarters campus. She also fielded client calls on her cellphone after hours. Mingo said she was paid only for the 40 hours recorded during the work week.
“This illegal policy occurred throughout the weeks of plaintiff’s (Mingo) employment with Sprint as well as the weeks of other similarly situated employees who also routinely worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek,” said Mingo’s lawsuit.
In McGlon’s lawsuit, which had gained conditional class-action status, Sprint settled and agreed to pay into a settlement fund.
Both sides acknowledged in the 19-page court-approved agreement that the company denied it owned unpaid wages or overtime compensation to anyone. Sprint settled “solely for the purpose of avoiding the cost and disruption of ongoing litigation,” the court-approved document said.
Sprint also denied violating the Fair Labor Standards Act or any other law, regulation or rule. The agreement said the settlement was the result of a compromise and “shall not be construed as an admission of liability at any time or for any purpose...”
Mingo similarly seeks class-action status to represent employees similarly treated in Sprint offices in Overland Park, Georgia, Florida and Kentucky. That would include many of the 968 that were sent notices in the first lawsuit but did not respond.
Hankins said many simply never got the notice because they had moved or didn’t respond because they believed they would receive little from the court case. He said some still working at Sprint likely were concerned about losing their jobs.
Under terms of the settlement, 153 employees shared in $229,096 left from the $365,000 fund. The attorneys had received a third of the money for fees and an additional amount for out-of-pocket expenses. Other costs, including an administrator of the fund, came out of the amount Sprint paid into the fund.