When calculating an employee’s overtime, employers must make sure to include any bonuses which the employee may have earned. WellPoint Companies Inc., one of the nation’s largest health benefits companies, is currently facing a class action lawsuit from a former employee who claimed that, as an hourly, non-exempt employee, he was paid overtime, but that overtime was miscalculated.
WellPoint awarded non-discretionary bonuses to employees who attained certain goals. According to California law, any bonuses earned as a result of performance need to be included in the “regular rate of pay” when calculating the employee’s overtime rate. According to the complaint, WellPoint allegedly failed to include the bonuses earned in the relevant time period and only calculated the overtime rate based upon the employee’s regular hourly wage. While the alleged resulting loss in overtime wages may be small, it can vary between pay periods and may have been larger in some periods than in others. Over time, it may have resulted in a significant loss of wages for the employee.
The complaint alleges that, in addition to being unfair to the employee, this also constitutes an unfair business practice because WellPoint benefited from the miscalculated overtime wages. This gives them an unfair advantage over their competitors who comply with the law and pay their employees the proper overtime wages.
The complaint also alleges that WellPoint failed to pay their employees all wages due upon termination of employment. According to California law, an employer is required to pay an employee all wages due within 72 hours of said termination. If the wages are not paid by this time, the employer is required to continue to pay the employee’s wages, continuing up until thirty days after the termination. The complaint alleges that there are numerous class members who terminated their employment with WellPoint more than thirty days ago and still have yet to receive all of their due wages.
Additionally, the complaint alleges that WellPoint failed to provide its employees with full, accurate, itemized pay stubs. Due to the alleged miscalculation of overtime wages, WellPoint’s pay stubs allegedly failed to reflect the proper overtime wages and the proper overtime pay earned.
The complaint is seeking certification of a class of all similarly situated people who do work, or have worked for WellPoint at any time in the past five years in California as an hourly, non-exempt employee who received bonuses. It is also seeking compensation of lost wages for the miscalculated overtime wages, plus interest, and an injunction enjoining WellPoint from ever again entering into this unlawful behavior. Due to the alleged failure to provide accurate itemized pay stubs, the class is entitled to (and does) seek, under California law, $50 for each class member for each pay period that an accurate or incomplete pay stub was provided and $100 for each pay period thereafter with an inaccurate or incomplete pay stub, for no more than a total of $4,000.
The attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience litigating wage and hour claims including overtime, meal breaks, vacation pay, and tips though out Illinois and the Chicago area including in Wheaton. Our offices are conveniently located in Oak Brook Terrace and Chicago, Illinois. If you think your employer may have misclassified you as exempt, contact one of our Chicago or Oakbrook attorneys today at 312-869-4095 or fill out our online form today.