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California Superior Court Finalizes a $43M Judgment for Escrow Officers Denied Overtime Pay Because of Misclassification as ‘Exempt’ Employees
Oftentimes, case law or statutes erect rules, but also recognize exemptions. California's overtime laws are no different, mandating time-and-a-half overtime compensation for workers who work more than 40 hours in a week... unless that worker qualifies as an "exempt" employee. What these rules also create, though, is the possibility for employers to disingenuously misclassify workers as exempt (whether they're really non-exempt) just to avoid paying overtime compensation. If that has happened to you, and you've lost overtime compensation you were owed, then you should act with all due haste to contact an experienced San Mateo employment law lawyer.
The above scenario of workers denied overtime by employer misclassification is far from strictly a hypothetical issue. In fact, a California court recently finalized a multi-million dollar judgment on behalf of workers harmed in exactly this manner, according to a Fresno Bee report.
The employer was a Miami-based property title company with workers in multiple states, including California. In 2007, several of the employer's California-based escrow officers filed a class action in Fresno County, alleging that the employer violated the Labor Code when it failed to pay them overtime and also failed to give them meal breaks and rest breaks required by the law.
The employer had classified the officers as exempt employees when they really were not. Specifically, the escrow officers accused the employer of misclassifying them as exempt supervisors or managers, when their jobs did not actually entail supervisory or managerial duties.
Supervising Your Own Supervisor...?
According to the lawsuit, these classifications were more than a little bit dubious. The employer allegedly classified one escrow officer as supervising the person who, in actuality, was her supervisor. The employer allegedly listed a different escrow officer as supervising a janitor.
Eventually, the employer changed the officers' titles to "unit managers" and assigned each an assistant but, according to one of the escrow officers in the lawsuit, the new job title didn’t change anything about her duties.
After many years and extensive litigation -- including multiple trips to the Court of Appeal -- those workers who were illegally denied pay they rightfully had earned finally achieved success, the Bee has reported.
A few weeks ago, the Fresno County Superior Judge overseeing the case approved the final judgment in the case. That judgment called for the workers who were members of the class to share in a $43 million payout by the employer. The sum represented $22 million in unpaid compensation and $21 million in interest, according to the Bee.
The employer elected to try its case before a judge instead of a jury. In 2016, the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, with the ensuing years being dedicated to assessing how much compensation the employer had illegally deprived the escrow officers.
Everyone who works for a living just wants, among other things, to get paid what they've earned based on the work they did. When your employer has failed to do that -- whether through misclassification or other means -- then you have the right to take legal action. The skilled San Mateo unpaid overtime attorneys at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP are here to help. Whether yours is a minimum wage case, an unpaid overtime case, a case of misclassification as an exempt employee, or misclassification as an independent contractor, we have the experience and knowledge necessary to provide you with the effective legal representation your case deserves. Contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
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