On July 23, 2013, Riggan Law Firm, LLC, a St. Louis employment law firm, filed a lawsuit on behalf of its clients against Fifth Third Bank to recover damages for Fifth Third Bank's failure to pay overtime wages. The plaintiffs in the case previously worked for Fifth Third Bank as mortgage loan officers.
The lawsuit alleges that prior to early 2011, Fifth Third Bank's mortgage loan officers were unlawfully classified as exempt from overtime pay, and that the plaintiffs worked overtime hours (hours over 40 in a workweek) without receiving overtime pay in the amount of one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay. The suit alleges that in early 2011, Fifth Third Bank reclassified its mortgage loan officers, including the plaintiffs, as non-exempt employees, paid them some back overtime wages, and began paying them an hourly wage (plus commissions) with overtime pay for some of their overtime hours. The suit further alleges, however, that beginning in early 2011, Fifth Third Bank instituted a policy of not permitting mortgage loan officers to report all of their hours worked in each workweek, which created "off-the-clock" work for which mortgage loan officers were not compensated. According to the lawsuit, these uncompensated work hours oftentimes were overtime hours, and thus, the plaintiffs claim that they were denied overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and the Missouri Minimum Wage Law ("MMWL"). The plaintiffs also allege that they made complaints to managers at Fifth Third Bank about having to work hours off-the-clock, but despite their complaints, Fifth Third Bank's unlawful wage practices continued. The suit seeks recovery of unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees, and costs/expenses.
To read a copy of the lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, click here.
The issue of overtime pay for mortgage loan officers continues to be a hot button issue in wage and hour law. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor issued an administrative interpretation stating that mortgage loan officers are not exempt from the FLSA's overtime requirements. That interpretation was not only a change from previous DOL advisory opinions, but was also inconsistent with the notion that the mortgage industry has historically treated mortgage loan officers as exempt from overtime requirements. To read more about overtime laws relating to mortgage loan officers, click here.
If you are an employee who has been deprived of overtime pay, or if you want to learn more about your rights, you should contact a St. Louis overtime lawyer from the firm.