Lawsuit Filed Against H&R Block for Failure to Pay Wages for Mandatory Training
In addition to the previous conditional certification of this case under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the Court recently granted Rule 23 conditional class certification under New York and California wage and hour laws. On August 25, 2011, a Notice of Class Action lawsuit was mailed to current and former H&R Block tax professionals who worked for H&R Block in either California or New York, explaining the state law cases. If you worked as an H&R Block tax professional in the state of New York at any time between March 4, 2004 and the present, and you were required to complete unpaid, mandatory training between tax seasons, you should receive a Notice for the Oyer v. H&R Block litigation. If you worked as an H&R Block tax professional in the state of California at any time between March 4, 2006 and the present and you were required to complete unpaid, mandatory training between tax seasons, you should receive the Hom v. H&R Block Notice. Unless you want to give up your right to share in any recovery that may be obtained in these state law class actions, you do not need to take any action in response to these Notices.
The state law cases described above are separate from the federal FLSA collective action lawsuit you may have recently joined. You can be a part of both cases. In the FLSA case, you were required to submit a Consent to Join form to be part of the litigation. However, even if you did not submit a Consent to Join form for the FLSA case, you can still be part of the state law case unless you affirmatively exclude yourself. If you returned a Consent to Join form for the FLSA case and want to be part of the state law case as well, you do not need to take any further action.
If you remain a member of any of the classes, you will not be asked to pay any fees for the lawyers. Class Counsel is working on a contingency fee basis, which means you will not pay anything whether we win or lose.
The Court recently granted conditional certification for this lawsuit to proceed as a collective action. A Notice of Collective Action Lawsuit was mailed on May 13, 2011 informing potentially eligible individuals about the case and their right to join. If you worked as an H&R Block tax professional during the last three years and were required to complete unpaid, mandatory training between tax seasons, you may be eligible to join. Details about the case are found below.
If you would like more information about the lawsuit or how to join the case, please call 1-800-782-4341, or visit www.gcginc.com/cases/HRBlock. In order to properly join the case, you must sign and return the Consent to Join form included in the Notice materials and it must be postmarked on or before July 12, 2011.
The Notice of Collective Action Lawsuit contains detailed information that should answer any questions you may have. Click here to view a copy of the Notice. Most importantly, you have a choice to make now:
ASK TO BE INCLUDED. Join this lawsuit. Await the outcome. Give up certain rights. See page 1 of the Notice for more details.
DO NOTHING. Do not join this lawsuit. Get no benefits from it. Keep rights. See page 1 of the Notice for more details.
Is there any money available now?
No money or benefits are available now because the Court has not decided whether H&R Block did anything wrong, and the two sides have not settled the case. There is no guarantee that money or benefits will ever be obtained. If they are, you will be notified of your entitlement to recovery and how to obtain it.
What if I am worried about retaliation?
Federal law prohibits H&R Block from terminating your employment, or in any other manner discriminating or retaliating against you, for taking part in this lawsuit.
Will I have to pay the lawyers and how will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel are working on a contingency fee basis. You will not have to pay them anything. They will get paid only if they get money or benefits for the Class. If that occurs, they may ask the Court for their fees and expenses. If the Court grants Class Counsel's request, the fees and expenses would be either deducted from any money obtained for the Class or paid separately by H&R Block, or may be a combination of the two.
How can I obtain more details?
If you still have questions, please visit the website www.gcginc.com/cases/HRBlock to get more information regarding this lawsuit. You may also get more details by calling 1-800-782-4341 or by writing to: Petroski, et al. v. H&R Block Enterprises, LLC, et al., c/o GCG, Inc., P.O. Box 9753, Dublin, OH 43017-5653.
Background of the Case
Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP and Lear Werts LLP filed a lawsuit on January 25, 2010 against H&R Block challenging the company-wide policy and practice of requiring their tax professionals to complete 24 hours of unpaid, mandatory training after the completion of a tax season in order to be eligible to prepare tax returns for H&R Block clients during the next tax season. The lawsuit alleges that H&R Block's systematic failure and refusal to pay their tax professionals for these 24 hours of mandatory training between tax seasons violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The lawsuit was filed as a nationwide collective action, which means that other similarly situated H&R Block tax professionals may be eligible to join the lawsuit and seek their unpaid wages. In addition, similar claims were asserted under California and New York wage and hour laws.
The lawsuit alleges that it is estimated that H&R Block employs more than 100,000 tax professionals each year to prepare tax returns for H&R Block clients. A vast majority of H&R Block tax professionals prepare tax returns for clients during consecutive tax seasons and are believed to be victims of H&R Block's pay policy and practice challenged in the lawsuit. Federal law may permit these H&R Block tax professionals to recover, among other things, unpaid wages for these 24 hours of mandatory training, plus an equal amount for liquidated damages, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, attorneys' fees and litigation costs. Unpaid wages can be sought for the past two- or three-year period from the date the employee joins the case, depending on whether H&R Block's alleged violation of the FLSA is deemed willful.
George Hanson and Todd McGuire of Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP and Bradford Lear and Todd Werts of Lear Werts LLP are representing the H&R Block tax professionals in the lawsuit, which was filed on January 25, 2010 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, Case No. 4:10-cv-00075-DGK.
Why Stueve Siegel Hanson?
Stueve Siegel Hanson is a national litigation firm specializing in complex business litigation, securities litigation, and consumer class actions. We have obtained substantial results for our clients in all types of litigation around the country, and have collectively been honored with dozens of awards and designations, for both our trial successes, and case results.
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