Jim owns a small chain of auto repair shops. Each shop has a locker room so that employees can put on their uniform, and not ruin their personal clothing. Jim requires each employee to purchase a uniform – at discounted rate – so that the customers see a unified look among the staff. Meet Rob, a technician making $15 per hour. Little does Jim know that Rob, a single dad trying to get his son to daycare on time and a tight budget, is angry about having to be at work 10 minutes before his shift ACTUALLY starts every day, and 10 minutes after it ends, changing in and out of his uniform.
Rob decides he is going to sue Jim for overtime wages for the last two years of this lost time that was in excess of his 8-hour work day, plus the costs of these required uniforms. At 20 minutes per day, 100 minutes per week, Rob is owed nearly 167 hours at time and a half, about $3,750 in back wages! Furthermore, after winning, Rob tells his coworkers, and word starts to spread among the 700 employees. If they were to join into a class action, that would be nearly $2.6 million and totally destroy all that Jim has worked so hard to build.