Hiring part-time employees can be a great way for businesses to fill in the gaps in their employee schedule while saving money. It can also be beneficial for employees looking for flexible hours. On the other hand, part-time employees are often left without the benefits of full-time employees, including health insurance and vacation time. Labor law generally requires an employee to work at least 20 hours per week before she is entitled to access to her employer’s health insurance or paid vacation time.
Even if an employee is taken on to work full time, the picture is not always rosy. Employees who are paid at least a salary of $23,600 per year and meet certain qualifications can legally be exempted from overtime compensation, even if they work more than forty hours a week.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees can be exempt from overtime if they fit into one of three categories: administrative, executive, and professional. For the administrative category, an employee must perform primarily office work and provide administrative assistance directly to an executive. The executive category includes managers and all employees who spend more than half their time supervising other employees. The professional category is made up of workers whose jobs require a specific set of skills or level of education, including doctors, lawyers, and performers.
According to a recent wage and hour class action lawsuit against Bank of America, the bank allegedly misclassified tellers in order to avoid paying them the proper overtime compensation. The lawsuit also alleges part-time employees were made to work more than the hours they were scheduled for. As a result, they allegedly worked more than 20 hours per week, which is enough to qualify them for a number of benefits, including vacation time.
Sheri G., who filed the lawsuit against her former employer in 2013 alleges, because she was regularly scheduled to work more than 20 hours per week, she was entitled to paid vacation time. She filed the lawsuit seeking compensation for the paid time off she accrued, and achieved class certification to represent all other tellers and part-time employees of Bank of America who were likewise misclassified.
Bank of America, who denies the claims, has agreed to settle the lawsuit outside of court for $9 million. U.S. District Judge Susan Ilston approved the settlement, meaning the bank will probably start writing checks to class members soon.
Large class action lawsuits such as this one settle outside of court more often than they go to trial. The settlement allows the defendant to put the matter to rest on their own terms. The agreement usually gives the defendant the right to refuse to admit to having done anything wrong. At the same time, they get to pay a smaller amount than they would if they lost the trial. They also get to avoid the expense of a trail that can drag on in the courts for years.
Plaintiffs also stand to gain by settling outside of court. You can never tell which way the court is going to rule, and for plaintiffs, agreeing to a settlement can be a way to take the money they know they can get, rather than wait for a trial that might rule against them.
Our Palatine, Wheeling and Schaumburg overtime lawyers and attorneys are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify 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.
Nationwide Consumer Rights is based in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace. We represent clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at 630-333-0333 or through our online form.