Bank of America Latest in Industry to Face Overtime Claims

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By Jon Steingart

Nov. 25 — Bank of America failed to pay customer service workers overtime for their long hours, a lawsuit filed in Illinois alleges ( Kaminski v. Bank of Am., N.A. , N.D. Ill., No. 1:16-cv-10844, complaint filed 11/23/16 ).

Bank employees with titles such as treasury management advisor and senior specialist-securities earned a fixed salary that didn’t vary when they worked more than 40 hours in a week, according to the complaint filed Nov. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. They should have been paid time-and-a-half for hours worked beyond 40 but were misclassified as exempt from overtime, the lawsuit says. The workers’ duties include assisting customers with accounts and transferring funds.

Employers typically argue that workers who sue for overtime aren’t entitled to it because they fall within a Fair Labor Standards Act exemption for workers whose duties are primarily executive, administrative or professional.

The banking industry has been hit with a flurry of wage-and-hour lawsuits lately, with Wells Fargo being sued Nov. 22 over similar allegations concerning home mortgage consultants.

Senate Hearings Focused on Issue

Recent Senate hearings that underlined the high productivity demands faced by lower-level bank employees showed the workers they “had rights they weren’t even aware of,” Allen Vaught, lead attorney for the Wells Fargo mortgage consultants, told Bloomberg BNA Nov. 22. Employees who don’t count the number of hours they work per week because they earn commissions or receive a flat salary “don’t really understand the rights that they have,” Vaught said.

The lawsuit is brought by Arlene Kaminski, a Bank of America worker who proposes to represent a class that includes all similarly situated company employees. She estimates there are at least 50 potential class members.

The case is assigned to Judge Robert W. Gettleman. Magistrate judge referrals will go to Magistrate Judge Mary Rowland.

The workers are represented by Ryan Stephan and Catherine Mitchell of Stephan Zouras LLP in Chicago. An attorney hasn’t entered an appearance for Bank of America.

The workers’ attorneys didn’t immediately respond to a Nov. 25 request for comment. A Bank of America representative was away and unable to be reached the same day.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Steingart in Washington at jsteingart@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com

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