Since federal courts tend to rule in favor of Big Business, most companies prefer to dispute overtime lawsuits in federal court, but their ability to do so has some limitations. Among those limitations is the requirement that the total amount of the claims for which plaintiffs are filing add up to at least $5 million.
According to a California federal judge, an overtime class action lawsuit against Bank of America did not meet that requirement, so Judge Vince Chhabria granted the plaintiff’s request to remand the case back to Alameda County Superior Court.
Bank of America allegedly underpaid its business bankers by refusing to properly compensate them for the hours they worked after eight hours in a day or forty hours a week. In its motion to have the case moved to federal court, Bank of America alleged the claims involved, plus the attorneys’ fees and legal costs, added up to at least $8 million.
Judge Chhabria did not follow the bank’s logic, since that number assumes each plaintiff worked 2.5 hours of overtime for 90% of the weeks in the proposed class period.
Laura Lopez, one of the named plaintiffs in the proposed class action lawsuit, provided evidence that she did not actually work that many hours of overtime for most of the weeks included in the class period – some weeks she worked no overtime and she was on vacation for others.
Judge Chhabria sided with Lopez over her former employer because Chhabria actually provided evidence to support her numbers, whereas the bank provided no evidence to show how it came to $8 million, apparently just making up numbers as it went along. Chhabria noted that it looked like the bank had a similar lack of evidence to support its assumptions about other claims involved in the wage and hour class action lawsuit.
Lopez filed her lawsuit against her former employer on behalf of herself and other, similarly situated business bankers who worked for the company in California. She alleges the bank violated California labor law by refusing to pay overtime, refusing to provide proper meal and rest breaks (as mandated by California labor law), failing to reimburse business bankers for business expenses, and failing to provide workers with accurate wage statements in a timely manner, which breaks both local and federal labor laws.
Not only were business bankers allegedly not paid overtime for the extra hours they say they worked, but the complaint alleges they were not even paid straight time when they worked more than eight hours a day or forty hours a week. Instead, the complaint alleges they were hired as salaried employees who were classified as exempt from overtime, although they allegedly did not meet the requirements for the federal overtime exemption.
In California, hourly, non-exempt employees are entitled to one paid, uninterrupted, ten-minute break for every four hours they work. For every five hours of work, employees are entitled to one, unpaid, uninterrupted meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, they are entitled to one hour’s worth of pay, in addition to all wages, overtime, tips, and bonuses earned that day.
The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Hilton, DoubleTree, W, Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Extended Stay America, Staybridge Suites, Best Western, HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Applebees, Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Chili’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s and hotels for mis-classifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, 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 these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Plainfield and Elk Grove Village. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Elgin, Yorkville and Plano 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 mis-classify 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 unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.