The overtime suits keep on coming, as Charles Schwab became the latest target of the claims.
The lawyers involved in a number of overtime cases against major wirehouse firms, including UBS and Merrill Lynch, filed a new one against Schwab in July. The complaint, which was amended this month, says the firm misclassified its specialists as exempt from overtime, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and breached California law by not paying specialists their overtime wages (and wages for missed meal and rest breaks).
Unlike previous overtime suits, this one is being filed on behalf of “customer service specialists” instead of brokers. According to the suit, specialists assist brokers in investment transactions, and assist customers with their accounts. Schwab employed at least one specialist for each of its brokerage offices across the country, the suit says. The job description for a Schwab specialist, as posted on www.careerbuilder.com, says employees “work in highly collaborative teams in an inclusive environment, and are paid a salary (rather than the pressure of commissions), receiving additional compensation for overtime hours.” But plaintiffs say the company failed to pay overtime even though the specialists routinely worked in excess of 40 hours per week and eight hours per day.
Schwab lawyers responded to the complaint on Monday and asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to dismiss the case. In its response, Schwab alleges the plaintiffs’ complaint fails to state sufficient facts that would constitute a reward, and that the plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the statutes of limitations. Further, Schwab states in its response that the named plaintiffs are not similarly situated to the customer service specialists they seek to represent.
Kevin McInerney, a lawyer for the plaintiff, was unavailable for comment. Defendants’ lawyers were not available at press time.