"Former Patelco CU Assistant Managers Sue For Unpaid Wages" (Link)

Credit Union Times, January 13, 2013 

By Natasha Chilingerian

The $3.9 billion Patelco Credit Union of Pleasanton, Calif. is facing a class action lawsuit that accuses the credit union of misclassifying dozens of assistant branch managers as exempt employees and failing to compensate them for overtime and missed meal and rest breaks.

According to an attorney for the plaintiff, former Patelco CU assistant branch manager Yuliya Clarke of Martinez, Calif., the plaintiff and other assistant branch managers worked long hours at the credit union without receiving any overtime pay and were never paid premiums for missed meal and rest breaks.

The attorney, Oakland, Calif.-based Brian Schwartz, said Clarke also alleges the group spent most of their time on the job working on non-supervisory tasks, including day-to-day customer service and opening new accounts and auto loans.

California overtime laws state if these types of activities comprise the majority of employees’ job duties, they should be placed outside “executive” and “administrative” exemptions, he said.

Additionally, the suit states Patelco CU did not provide the assistant branch managers with itemized wage statements as required by California law, and that the credit union owes state law penalties.

The suit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Jan. 4.

“Patelco is the latest in a long line of employers to misclassify assistant branch managers as exempt,” Schwartz said. “It seems that — as with so many other employers — Patelco needs a lawsuit to change its practices and begin paying its assistants the overtime and meal and rest period premiums to which they are entitled under California law.”

A spokeswoman for Patelco CU confirmed a suit involving one former assistant branch manager had recently been filed regarding the classification of Patelco assistant branch managers as exempt employees. She said the credit union believes its assistant branch managers are correctly classified as exempt employees.

“Patelco values its employees and we consider them our greatest resource,” said Ken Burns, president/CEO for Patelco CU. “We believe our employees are being treated fairly, and in accordance with all applicable laws.”