"Bank of America to Pay $36 Million in California Overtime Infraction Case"
San Francisco Business Times, August 27, 2015
A subsidiary of Bank of America has agreed to settle with 365 current and former employees for $36 million over charges it failed to pay overtime, an Oakland lawyer who brought the case said Thursday.
The settlement comes just under the wire: It was slated to go to trial on Aug. 31, but the $36 million settlement, if and when it is approved by the court, now resolves all claims.
The lawsuit filed in April 2013 in federal court alleged that Bank of America erroneously applied the "administrative" and "professional" exemptions to residential staff appraisers.
It also charged that workers regularly worked from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. without any overtime compensation from either the subsidiary, Landsafe Appraisal Services, Inc., or Bank of America (NYSE: BAC).
Many of the workers were based in Northern California.
The case, Terry P. Boyd et al. v. Bank of America Corp., was quickly seen as a benchmark for how employers apply in-house overtime rules. It has been closely watched by California employers as a harbinger for how federal courts may apply penalties related to overtime infractions.
"We have seen over and over again across the economy that employees are misclassified, depriving them of overtime compensation, when under state and federal law they are due the wages," said Bryan Schwartz, founder of Oakland-based Bryan Schwartz Law, and co-lead counsel on the case.
In December 2013 Judge David O. Carter certified the case as a nationwide class action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and certified a class action in California in June 2014 under the California Labor Code.
Schwartz and his co-counsel, Los Angeles-based firm of Schonbrun Desimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman, earlier settled another part of the same case against Bank of America for $5.8 million. That brings the total payout from the bank to nearly $42 million.
"Employers take grave risks by cutting corners, and not fairly compensating their employees in tune with state and federal law," said Schwartz.