Many retail workers rely on commissions as all or part of their wages: every time the employee makes a sale, they receive a cut of that sale in their paycheck, commonly known as a “commission.” Managers of stores frequently get a commission based on the sales made throughout the store.
Sprint is one such company which has an implied Incentive Compensation Plan and Commission Acknowledgement Agreement or similar commission plan which provided that employees would be paid certain commissions in addition to any other pay they might receive. In Sibley, et al. v. Sprint Nextel Corp. nine employees of Sprint are bringing a class action against the company on behalf of themselves and at least fifty similarly situated employees for breach of contract. They believe that, nationwide, the action could include as many as 1,000 employees and they already have statements from 50 employees in 20 states. They therefore satisfy the numerosity requirement for class action certification.
The plaintiffs allege that, at the time that Sprint merged with Nextel, they suffered computer problems which caused some commissions to fail to be entered. As a result those employees never received the money they earned and the defendants were unjustly enriched by those sales. The plaintiffs allege that they alerted the defendants about these errors both verbally and in writing, and that the defendants acknowledged the errors but nothing was ever done about them.
The defendants argue that any and all payment issues which came to their attention were remedied and paid in full. Once the computer problems were brought to their attention, the defendants spent $8-10 million and more than 35,000 labor hours trying to fix the situation.
The defendants have also argued that the class action does not fit the commonality requirement due to the fact that, if the plaintiffs were to succeed in court, the defendants would have to sort through each case individually to determine the exact amount due to each employee which would require an unreasonable amount of time and effort.
The plaintiffs maintain that each case is similar enough to fulfill the commonality requirement, which does not state that each plaintiff’s case must be identical, merely similar enough to justify the class action as the superior method of bringing the case to trial. Additionally, while there is no equation to calculate the amount of money owed each member of the class, the plaintiffs allege that the cases are similar enough that the time it would take to calculate the reimbursements would not be unreasonable.
The plaintiffs have further proven that: the representatives’ claims are typical of those of the class; the representative parties will fairly and accurately represent the interests of the class and; the counsel acquired is sufficiently capable of handling the class action. Altogether the court decided that the plaintiffs had sufficiently met all of the requirements and it certified the class action.
You can review the class action complaint and other relevant legal documents on Sprint’s website by clicking here.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center has a team of attorneys who focus on nationwide class action lawsuits and who have successfully handled many large wage and hour disputes. Our Elgin overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern class action cases well. Our attorneys are dedicated to getting you your unpaid wages and giving you efficient and dynamic representation. If you believe that you are owed wages, contact one of our Chicago wage and hour attorneys by phone at (877) 990-4990, or through our online form.