Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has won a significant victory in an overtime lawsuit filed by two customer service representatives. A court has denied a petition to elevate the case to class-action status—a decision that could save the insurer millions of dollars if it eventually loses.
Brenda Knutson and Sarah LaPage allege Blue Cross/Blue Shield denied them overtime pay. At issue are the minutes the women spent each morning logging on to their computer systems, setting up phone equipment, checking e-mail and otherwise preparing for their day, as well as time spent shutting down their systems at the end of the workday—time they allege they should have been paid for.
The women sought collective-action status so their case would cover all similarly situated customer service representatives. If the court had allowed the claim, the stakes would have risen, as any award would include the entire class, not just the two women.
The court refused to approve their certification request, largely because neither could find co-workers interested in joining their lawsuit.