Judge gives workers suing Fuyao class-action status

Workers in the Fuyao Glass America Moraine plant stack newly manufactured windshields in 2016. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Workers in the Fuyao Glass America Moraine plant stack newly manufactured windshields in 2016. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

A federal judge has granted class-action status to Fuyao Glass America workers and former workers in a lawsuit against the company.

The class-action status will include current and former Fuyao production workers in the last three years, and attorneys for those suing Fuyao now have permission to contact those people.

The workers involved in the lawsuit so far — about 13 — have alleged that the Moraine manufacturer of auto safety glass has not properly paid workers for overtime work or did not completely relieve them of duties for unpaid meal breaks and other times.

The company has denied the allegations and is fighting the lawsuit, which was first filed in Dayton’s federal court last June by a former Fuyao employee.

“The allegations in the complaint and the plaintiffs’ declarations agree that defendant’s (Fuyao’s) staff share similar primary job duties and responsibilities and are alleged to be victims of the same policy, decision and practice to deny them overtime pay,” wrote Judge Thomas Rose, in a decision dated Wednesday.

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“This suffices to consider plaintiffs and putative collective members and sub-class members similarly situated for purposes of conditional certification,” Rose added.

The judge ordered Fuyao to give plaintiffs’ attorneys a list of prospective class members — people who have worked for Fuyao in the last three years.

Fuyao has 14 days to provide the plaintiffs’ attorneys the workers’ and former workers’ names, job positions, last-known mailing addresses, last-known telephone numbers, email addresses and other information.

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Attorneys for those suing Fuyao have also asked to give workers and former workers 60 days to “opt in” to the lawsuit, Rose wrote. (In an amended filing, Rose raised that number to 90 days.)

Attorneys may contact workers via U.S. postal mail and email.

Earlier this month, Scott Young, an attorney for Fuyao, said: “Fuyao Glass America (FGA) denies any allegations by the plaintiffs that they were not properly paid by FGA.”

Young and his colleagues then took the position “that class certification is not appropriate.”

A message seeking comment was sent Thursday morning to attorneys representing Fuyao.

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