CF Industries Receives Employment Complaint for Failing to Include Bonuses in Overtime Pay

On Monday, plaintiffs Michael Hoefer and Corey Wortman filed an employment class action against CF Industries Holdings, Inc. and CF Industries Employee Services, LLC. The Northern District of Illinois complaint makes Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL) claims against the companies for failing to pay hourly employees the correct amount of overtime compensation.

The defendants, foreign companies registered to do business in Illinois, make and sell agricultural and industrial use nitrogen products. The plaintiffs are former hourly employees who worked as technicians for CF industries at different times in the last five years.

For hours worked in excess of 40 per week, the plaintiffs were paid overtime at a rate of one-and-one-half times their hourly pay, according to the complaint. They were also eligible for non-discretionary quarterly bonuses, based on “objective criteria, such as whether or not a certain production rate was met and if employees had met safety goals.” The plaintiffs also received yearly bonuses, the amount of which was calculated based on the performance of all of the defendants’ facilities.

The problem, the plaintiffs contend, is that their overtime pay rate was undercalculated. Allegedly, the FLSA requires that hourly workers’ compensation, including non-discretionary bonuses, “‘must be totaled in with other earnings to determine the regular rate on which overtime pay must be based.’” Thus, the filing averred, the defendants “violated the FLSA and IMWL by not including all forms of compensation, such (as) the non-discretionary bonuses paid to Plaintiffs and other Hourly Employees, in their regular rate when calculating their overtime pay.”

The complaint brought both individual FLSA and IMWL claims on behalf of the two named plaintiffs and a FLSA collective action claim on behalf of all “hourly-paid bonus plan participants who earned a bonus” in connection with any overtime work during the last three years. The complaint contended that the defendants employed 500 or more hourly workers and paid them using the same compensation scheme during the relevant time period.

For the supposed violations, the plaintiffs seek “declaratory judgment, monetary damages, liquidated damages, prejudgment interest, and costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees.”

The plaintiffs are represented by the Sanford Law Firm, PLLC.