Class Action Certified As to Zillow Consultants for Unpaid Overtime

Like everything else, automated timekeeping systems have their advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, they make timekeeping and bookkeeping much easier and less labor intensive, especially for large corporations with many employees. On the other hand, employers who use automated timekeeping systems need to make sure they have a system in place to make adjustments whenever an employee works longer hours than they were initially scheduled for.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), overtime is defined as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. Most employees working in the United States are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime worked. There are exceptions to the overtime requirement, but the FLSA is very specific about the types of workers that can be considered exempt from overtime.

According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit against Zillow Inc., the online real estate company allegedly failed to properly compensate its inside sales consultants for the overtime they worked. The class action lawsuit alleges Zillow used an automated timekeeping system and failed to make adjustments to the timekeeping records when employees worked through their breaks or after their scheduled shift had ended.

The class action lawsuit was initially dismissed after the judge found that Ian F., the lead plaintiff, failed to allege at least one workweek in which he worked overtime and was not paid for those extra hours of work. Ian F. was given leave to amend the complaint, and having done so to the court’s satisfaction, the judge certified the class of plaintiffs. The certified class includes everyone who worked for Zillow as an inside sales consultant any time between November 2010 and January 2015. The class does not include any workers who signed a separation and release agreement upon termination of employment.

In her order granting class certification to the plaintiffs, the judge noted that, not only did Zillow fail to disprove either of the two main allegations of Freeman’s complaint, but the employer also started paying its workers overtime after the lawsuit was filed. The news is no doubt good for all the inside sales consultants currently working for Zillow, but it also makes Zillow look guilty.

In his petition for class certification, Freeman requested Mark J. Geragos and Bobby Samini be appointed as class counsel. Zillow argued that Geragos should not be allowed to serve as class counsel in this wage and hour lawsuit because he is already representing other former Zillow employees in another employment lawsuit that is still pending litigation.

The judge dismissed these arguments, pointing out that the claims of the other employment lawsuits against Zillow differ enough from the wage and hour claims of this class action lawsuit, that the judge found no reason Geragos should not be able to serve as an effective class counsel in both lawsuits. The judge did note that there may be some tangential overlap of issues between the employment lawsuits, but not enough to warrant barring Geragos from the wage and hour litigation.

Our Chicago, Joliet and Cicero wage and hour attorneys and unpaid 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. We represent call center workers who are forced to work overtime but are not paid time and half 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.

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