Companies will sometimes use the threat of limiting an employee's future in order to pressure the employee. That does not however, make the company's behavior any more legal. According to a class-action lawsuit brought to court in California, Interpublic Group allegedly did just that.
Employees were allegedly required to "volunteer" at events after their shifts had ended with neither overtime compensation nor breaks, both of which employers are required by the state of California to provide. If employees did not "volunteer" they were allegedly told that it would "negatively affect their ability to advance their careers."
Interpublic Group has agreed to pay $327,000 to settle the suit and a judge has preliminarily approved the settlement. Of that money, $20,000 will go to Daniel Malakhov, a former account coordinator for Rogers & Crown and the original plaintiff in the suit. According to court documents, Malakhov has had to leave the PR industry as a result of the publicity of the lawsuit.
Although Malakhov did not personally witness similar behavior at other Interpublic Group firms, a study conducted by the Cullen firm allegedly found that similar pressures to work overtime without compensation were found at other Interpublic agencies. Due to the findings of the study, employees at other Interpublic firms have been deemed eligible for financial compensation.
In addition to Malakhov, the settlement will to go employees at Rogers & Crown, PMK-BMC, the Axis Agency, GolinHarris, and Weber Shandwick. The class consists of 329 California employees whose jobs range from account coordinator to administrative assistant and have worked in those roles since June 30, 2007. The deadline for class members to file a claim is April 11 and the final approval of the settlement is expected to take place on May 23.
As a condition of the settlement, Interpublic Group is not admitting any wrongdoing.
The attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against companies for forcing employees to work off the clock at charitable events or promotional events, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim this practice call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience fighting for wage earner's rights. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime attorneys who focus on nationwide class action lawsuits and work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and prosecute claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Warrenville, Lombard and Lisle. We protect unpaid workers who haven't received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, McHenry Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Libertyville, North Chicago and Waukegan overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.