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Class Certification and Motion to Dismiss Pending in Merrill Lynch and Bank of America Overtime Lawsuit

Just because a judge has denied class certification to a group of plaintiffs, does not mean the case is over. The plaintiffs always have a chance to appeal the decision and amend their complaint or the definitions of the class, if necessary.

In a recent wage and hour class action lawsuit against Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit and asked the judge to rule on their motion to dismiss before reconsidering class certification. An attorney for the plaintiffs argued that if the judge agreed to dismiss the lawsuit, there would be no need to reconsider certification of the class.

In the course of arguing for dismissal of the lawsuit, the attorney pointed out the request for reconsidering class certification was based on the fact the statute of limitations on the case under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is about to expire. The defendants also asked the court to depose the lawsuit’s two named plaintiffs.

The lawsuit was filed by Andrew Blum and Zaq Harrison, two former financial advisor trainees for Bank of America and its Merrill Lynch unit. The two named plaintiffs filed the lawsuit alleging they were forced to work 10-hour days, plus nights and weekends, without the proper overtime compensation.

According to the lawsuit, the extra hours were allegedly spent in the company’s development stage of the program, during which trainees were expected to generate leads for potential clients.

Blum, who lives in Florida, alleges he was made to work ten-hour days and attend client functions two to three evenings a week. He was also allegedly required to attend weekend events that lasted for as long as eight hours. Harrison, who lives in Maryland, alleges he was made to work a similar schedule, including eight-hour shifts on Sundays, without the proper overtime compensation.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to certify a class of more than 100 similarly situated employees of the bank who worked similar schedules in the Practice Management Development program. The proposed class would cover all trainees who were enrolled in the program any time between August 5, 2011 and the date the lawsuit was filed. The total amount of claimed damages for all of the class members is expected to be more than $5 million.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime as all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. All hourly employees are entitled to overtime compensation, as are many salaried employees, unless their job responsibilities fulfill certain requirements. Employers are also required to pay workers for all the time they spend in training, as long as the training is directly related to the responsibilities of the job.

In addition to the FLSA, each state has its own rules and regulations governing all the employers and employees within the state. The current wage and hour lawsuit against Bank of America and Merrill Lynch is alleging violations of Maryland’s wage and hour laws, as well as violations of the FLSA.The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains and banks such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Petsmart, Officemax, Staples, Smart & Final, Apple, Walgreen’s, CVS, Urban Outfitters, GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch, Limited, Forever 21, Macy’s, Target, JC Penney’s, Lowes, Marshalls, TJ Max, Victoria’s Secret, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Best Buy, Home Depot, Apple, Best Buy, Sears, K Mart, J.C Penney, Walmart, Costco, PetSmart, REI and other retail chains for misclassifying employees as managers, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, failing to pay for time spent on security checks, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim this practice call us at one of our offices near Naperville and Rockford at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.