This past summer, three lawsuits were brought by current and/or former employees against the University of Phoenix. These employees worked as academic and enrollment counselors and allege that they were not paid overtime compensation for hours worked over forty hours in a week. Specifically, these employees allege that in order to meet quotas and requirements set by their supervisors, the counselors were forced to work more than forty hours. However, despite their supervisors’ encouragement to meet these quotas and knowledge of the overtime hours being worked, these employees were not paid any overtime compensation for the time worked. The employees maintain that these practices violate the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and therefore, they seek to represent a nationwide class of all enrollment and/or academic counselors working for the University of Phoenix.
On a somewhat related note, University of Phoenix parent Apollo Group Inc. recently agreed to pay $78.5 million to settle a long-running federal whistleblower lawsuit over recruiter-pay practices. In that case, two former University of Phoenix enrollment counselors filed suit on behalf of the federal government under the False Claims Act. They claimed that the Phoenix-based for-profit school was defrauding the government of billions in financial aid because it paid recruiters based on the number of students they enrolled, a violation of federal law.
Pogust Braslow & Millrood is the lead plaintiffs’ counsel in one of the recently filed overtime cases, which is entitled Sabol v. Apollo Group, et al. . In the federal court Complaint filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the plaintiffs allege, “[d]uring their employment at Defendants’ locations, Plaintiffs’ superiors consistently stated that if working extra hours was required in order for employees to meet the required performance goals, then the employees should do so, but they will not be paid for any time spent working over forty hours.” This case is still in litigation and the plaintiffs will soon ask the Court to conditionally certify a nationwide class so that other former and current academic and enrollment counselors can join the lawsuit. If you have any questions about this lawsuit, please contact us for further information.