Posted on Thu, Nov. 17, 2005
Workers file suit against Texas Instruments
By AMAN BATHEJA
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Two Texas Instruments workers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Wilford Vogt of Irving and James Gauthier of Denison charge in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday that Texas Instruments required employees in its "fab facilities" to regularly work shifts of 12 hours and longer but only paid for 11.5 hours at work. The suit alleges employees are due 32-42 minutes per day of unpaid overtime.
According to the suit, the unpaid work stems from a list of activities employees were required to complete before starting their shift and a briefing employees had to attend at the end of their shift. Shifts don't officially start at the facilities until after employees have changed from their street clothes to clean suits, as well as switching shoes, putting on hair nets, washing hands, donning gloves and passing through an air shower, according to the suit.
It was not clear from the lawsuit whether Vogt and Gauthier are still employed by TI. Gauthier declined comment when contacted this morning. A number listed in the court filing for Vogt is no longer connected.
The suit claims Texas Instruments uses card readers to account for when employees are on site, yet never pays more than eight hours of regular pay and 3.5 hours of overtime per shift.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled companies must pay employees for the time it takes to change into protective clothing and safety gear and walk to their work stations in a case that stemmed from workers at a meat processing plant.
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TI fab workers want overtime pay for suiting up
Dylan McGrath EE Times (11/17/2005 4:07 PM EST)
SAN FRANCISCO - Two Texas Instruments employees have filed a collective action civil lawsuit charging TI with failure to pay overtime wages legally due employees for the time spent donning protective clothing and other preparations required for a cleanroom environment. According to the suit, filed Tuesday (Nov. 15) in a U.S. District Court in Texas, TI does not pay fab workers for approximately 32 to 42 minutes per day spent smocking, un-smocking, changing shoes, participating in "pass down" briefings and other required activities.
The plaintiffs charge that TI's policy is in violation of the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
The plaintiffs' attorney, David Watsky of Dallas-based Gillespie, Rozen, Watsky, Motley, and Jones, said the suit has precedent. In 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that workers at Wacker Siltronic Corp.'s Oregon fabs were entitled to pay for such activities.
Watsky said he has not yet received a reply from TI, and that he does not expect the company's response for at least two weeks.
The plaintiffs are seeking unpaid overtime and a change to the company's policy.
According to the suit, though TI requires fab employees to use cards and card readers to account for on-site time, but the company pays employees only for 11.5 hours per day - eight hours at a regular rate and 3.5 hours of overtime.
A spokesperson for TI said the company would not comment on the pending litigation, but that the company believes its pay practices are in line with existing law and plans to vigorously defend them. By paying employees overtime after eight hours even though employees work a "compressed" schedule, TI believes it is actually paying employees at a higher rate than required too by law, the spokesperson said.