JPMorgan Chase Sued By Misclassified Commercial Appraisers for Unpaid Wages
April 1, 2013 Oakland – Appraisers in the commercial lending division of JPMorgan Chase have filed a class and collective action suit, seeking to recover millions of dollars in unpaid wages based on the financial services giant’s practice of misclassifying these employees as “exempt” from overtime pay, among other violations of California and federal law. Chase’s “Production Appraisers” complete form valuations of commercial and multi-unit residential properties based on well-defined criteria, allowing Chase to issue loans and refinancing secured by the properties. Chase’s “Review Appraisers” then proofread the appraisals based on Chase’s criteria.
“Chase has its production appraisers working upwards of seventy hours a week, through weekends and holidays, to meet Chase’s billings requirements,” said Kenneth J. Lee of Long Beach, California, one of the lead plaintiffs in the suit. “Chase is running an appraisal sweatshop, and it’s time that Chase be required to compensate its appraisers fairly,” Lee continued.
The lawsuit, filed in the Los Angeles-based U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that Appraisers have unlawfully been deprived of overtime pay and meal and rest period premiums, itemized wage statements and certain reimbursements required under California law. The Appraisers allege that they are subject to detailed standards and internal guidelines for the production and review of each appraisal, placing the Appraisers squarely outside of the so-called “white collar” exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act and California wage and hour protections.
“These are production workers and, in the case of review appraisers, glorified proofreaders who worked long hours helping Chase with its loan sales,” said Bryan Schwartz, whose firm, Bryan Schwartz Law, P.C. represents the plaintiffs. “We look forward to bringing Chase’s practices to light and recovering the wages that our clients and their co-workers earned but were not paid,” said Schwartz. Bryan Schwartz Law, P.C. has previously succeeded in favorably resolving numerous wage-and-hour class actions on behalf of other groups of misclassified employees, from loan officers to store managers.
For more information about this case, Lee, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., et al. (Case No. Civ-13-511CJC), please contact Bryan Schwartz at Bryan@BryanSchwartzLaw.com.
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