Assistant branch managers lodged a lawsuit against banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. claiming that the company misclassified them as overtime-exempt workers. The overtime settlement awards those managers a total of $16.7 million. Three putative classes and one other class alleged JPMorgan Chase violated Illinois, Connecticut, and New York employment laws.
Overtime Settlement Reached With Approximately $3,000 to Each Class Member
The overtime settlement reached will give each class member approximately $3,000 to cover unpaid overtime due to the alleged misclassification of workers as exempt stretching back to 2012. The lawsuit alleged the bank violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by stating that the employees weren’t eligible for overtime earnings inaccurately. Approximately 5,400 employees are effected by the settlement.
The lawyers for JP Morgan argued that assistant branch managers rarely or never work overtime because of the at least nine bank holidays every year. With those bank holidays, the managers allegedly couldn’t work overtime during those weeks and that personal matters, illnesses, and vacation would also prevent those employees from working more than 40 hours per week. The banking giant went on to argue that the branches are hardly ever open beyond 40 hours and that those employees were entitled to breaks and lunches.
The class initially filed their lawsuit in March, 2014. According to the paperwork filed with the settlement agreement, the plaintiffs had an uphill battle to meet an array of legal requirements in order to proceed with their suit. Surpassing these milestones, including getting collective action certification, winning liability, illustrating damages, defeating collective action and class arbitration waivers, and winning a potential appeal, meant that the settlement seemed fair in line with the claims made by both sides.
Overtime settlements reached between companies and employees are not uncommon given that both sides have incentives to avoid the uncertainty of court and the additional expenses of continued litigation. Attorneys working with unpaid overtime cases will often carefully evaluate the potential for a settlement early on and throughout the case to help plaintiffs make an informed decision about the risks and benefits of proceeding.
Employers of non-exempt employees are responsible for paying workers who work beyond 40 hours in a week under federal and state employment laws. In recent years, a number of lawsuits have emerged with claims that employers have misclassified these workers and therefore failed to pay out overtime wages due. Proper records and documentation of employer practices are extremely helpful in determining whether or not overtime violations have occurred. In addition to the Fair Labor Standards Act, an injured party may be able to reference state overtime laws in support of their case.
If you or other employees at your company are concerned about potential overtime violations and have already begun to gather documentation or other evidence about these issues, you need to consult with an experienced lawyer sooner rather than later. The issues surrounding unpaid overtime claims can be complex, but the lawyers at Bradley/Grombacher are here to help you- the lawyers are currently investigating allegations of unpaid overtime.
Note: Bradley/Grombacher is not representing the plaintiff in this lawsuit.