Fuyao legal battle may get bigger

Dustin Sparkman, left, and Deraesha Stewart work as a team to clean and check windshields in the Fuyao Glass America plant in this October 2016 photo. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

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Dustin Sparkman, left, and Deraesha Stewart work as a team to clean and check windshields in the Fuyao Glass America plant in this October 2016 photo. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Four more people have filed to join a lawsuit against Fuyao Glass America that challenges the way the manufacturer pays and schedules its employees.

Former Fuyao employee Julia Staggs is suing Moraine’s Fuyao on behalf of herself and other “similarly situated” Fuyao employees, saying she wants class-action status for what the lawsuit alleges are unpaid wages and overtime pay from the company.

Last week, Chuck Dickens, Andre Cameron, Chad Clark and Nettie Halliburton filed “consent to join” forms, seeking to participate in the case as plaintiffs.

In July, John Greene and Stephen Newman also filed for consent to join the suit.

Staggs — who worked for Fuyao for a few months in 2016 — filed the lawsuit in Dayton’s federal court in June.

RELATEDFormer Fuyao worker seeks class-action status in suit

The plaintiffs allege that they worked overtime pay without receiving overtime pay — a wage 1.5 times their regular pay rate — because of what they say is Fuyao’s “automatic meal break deduction policy, rounding policy and ‘off the clock’ policy.”

The suit charges that Fuyao did not allow the plaintiffs “and similarly situated employees” to clock out for meal breaks and clock back in after meal breaks.

Rather, starting in January 2016, Fuyao applied a policy for all hourly production workers, automatically deducting 30 minutes for a meal break, “almost always encompassing hours worked — for each and every day worked,” the lawsuit alleges.

The time was deducted even though the plaintiffs and “similarly situated employees” were not completely relieved from their work duties for the half-hour, the suit states.

So the employees were “required” to either continue working during what were supposed to be meal breaks or they had to cut their breaks short and return to work before the full half-hour break was complete, the suit says.

All “putative (lawsuit) class members” have been subject to the policy, according to the suit.

Messages seeking comment were sent to attorneys on both sides of the lawsuit.

After the lawsuit was first filed, a spokeswoman for Fuyao said the allegations were “without merit.”

“Any overtime work was properly paid by FGA to its employees, and plaintiffs were not required to work without pay,” a company spokeswoman said in June.

Scott Young, a Cincinnati attorney representing Fuyao, on Wednesday reiterated that, saying, “FGA intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit.

The company’s next filing in the suit is due Oct. 2.

The Moraine auto glass manufacturer was founded by a global, China-based company in 2014, now operating in a former General Motors plant with about 2,000 employees.

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