Merrill Lynch Settles $550k Overtime Lawsuit

Merrill Lynch recently settled a class action lawsuit from 51 employees who claimed to have never been paid overtime wages. The employees were responsible for reviewing broker emails. These compliance employees were allegedly misclassified as exempt from overtime. Therefore, they were never paid time and a half their usual rate when they worked any hours over 40. The employees were scheduled to work from 8:30 to 5:30, but they regularly worked longer hours and from home. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, overtime eligible employees must earn an overtime rate of time and a half for any hours worked over 40 in a given workweek, even if those hours are worked from home.

Lead Plaintiff’s Allegations Against Merrill Lynch

Jenniffer Porter was the lead plaintiff in this case and an employee of Merrill Lynch for 17 years. She brought the class action claim in 2017 after she was terminated for “poor performance.” She alleged that her employer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and New Jersey’s Wage and Hour Law when it refused to pay her and her fellow employees overtime wages. 

Merrill Lynch Denies Responsibility

Although Merrill Lynch agreed to settle the suit for $550k, the company denied liability. They released a statement saying, “by reaching a mutually acceptable settlement prior to class and collective action certification briefing, depositions, dispositive motions, possibly a trial, and possibly appeals, the [p]arties have reduced their risks and avoided significant expense and delay.” Merrill Lynch claims that it did not improperly classify its employees because their job responsibilities elevated their position to the  “administrative” and “professional” exemptions of the Fair Labor Standards Act for overtime wages. 

Employees of Similar Investment Organizations Should Be Aware

With this large settlement underway, employees at similar organizations, such as Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and UBS, should be aware that they might be misclassified. When our firm sees a large violation from one company, we’ve found that it’s not uncommon for companies in the same industry to make similar violations. Industry practices will illegally cut corners at the expense of their employers. Firms like ours will stand up to these employers and fight for employee rights that are guaranteed under the law. If you are misclassified and working more than 40 hours a week, you can take legal action to recover your rightfully earned wages and attorney’s fees. An experienced employment attorney can help you figure out whether or not you are misclassified. 

Seek Legal Assistance Today

If you think you are misclassified for overtime wages, seek legal assistance today. The Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City, can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.