In many cases, when multiple workers are affected by an employer's unfair labor practices, the ensuing legal claim becomes a class-action lawsuit. A class action allows a plaintiff-employee to represent multiple other workers who have been wronged by the same employer.
That was the case in a recently settled lawsuit against Bank of America and one of its subsidiaries, Landsafe Appraisal Services.
Using its in-house overtime rules, Bank of America violated state and federal laws by misclassifying employees as "professional" and "administrative" and by failing to pay overtime compensation, according to the suit. The nationwide class action was brought on behalf of 365 current and former employees, many of whom were based in California.
The lawsuit said that employees often worked 16-hour days but received no overtime compensation from Bank of America or Landsafe Appraisal Services. Rather than go to trial on Aug. 31, Bank of America agreed to pay $36 million to resolve all claims.
Misclassification of employees is at the heart of many wage-and-hour lawsuits in California. If they believe it's to their advantage, some employers violate the California Labor Code and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by incorrectly classifying workers as independent contractors, or as hourly, exempt, non-exempt or managerial, depending on which status cuts labor costs the most.
If your employer has prioritized profits over fair treatment of employees, then you may be entitled to compensation. Winning such a case requires evidence, however, so don't hesitate to speak with an employment law attorney who knows how to investigate misclassification and other labor law violations.