Bus drivers with the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) are suing over alleged unpaid overtime wages.
The lawsuit was filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee by Donati Law, PLLC on behalf of the drivers. The defendant is MidSouth Transportation Management, Inc, (MTM) the Ohio-based company that MATA contracts to hire and manage its drivers. The company is a subsidiary of First Transit.
The drivers are alleging that the company has violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to pay them required overtime wages. The FLSA mandates that employees are paid at least 1.5 times their regular pay rate after exceeding 40 hours of work in a week.
Carlos Boyland, one of the drivers in the lawsuit, has been working as a bus driver here since 1997. He regularly works 100-hour weeks, but isn’t paid full overtime compensation, according to the complaint. Instead, the company paid Boyland and other unnamed drivers their regular rate and, at times, half their regular rate.
“[The] defendant does not and has not made a good faith effort to comply with the FLSA,” the complaint reads. "[The] defendant knew plaintiffs and the punitive collective worked overtime without proper compensation, and it willfully failed and refused to pay.”
MATA bus drivers have been bringing concerns to MTM management about the failure to pay proper overtime wages for more than 20 years, according to William Ryan, one of the attorneys for the drivers.
"We are hopeful to come to a resolution that fairly compensates these hardworking individuals who work long hours to keep our city connected and accessible," Ryan said.
The firm is seeking back pay and liquidated damages for drivers who have been denied overtime pay within the past three years.
Nicole Lacey, MATA’s chief communications officer said the agency could not comment on the allegations at this time, as the litigation is ongoing.
First Transit, the parent company of MTM did not immediately respond to the Flyer’s request for comment.