Up to 4,500 Wells Fargo & Company consultants and analysts will share in a $12.8 million overtime class action settlement that was approved on October 6, 2006, by U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilkin. The settlement involves claims that salaried business systems employees who worked for the firm between 2001 and 2006 producing automated versions of paper forms and performing other "routine production" duties were misclassified as exempt from overtime pay, and denied overtime pay and ERISA benefits due for such pay. California workers will receive larger shares than employees in other states, presumably due to differences between California law and the FLSA or other state statutes regarding eligibility for and calculations regarding overtime pay.
The case is Gerlach v. Wells Fargo & Co. USDC, NDCA, Case no. 05-cv-00585-CW. It was interesting to follow, among other reasons, because Wells Fargo filed a counterclaim against the class representative for conversion and other claims, seeking to make the plaintiff and inadequate representative. The settlement came after four mediation sessions, over seven months, before retired Judge Edward Infante.
As usual, the company paid the money while simultaneously denying any liability. "Wells Fargo maintains that it has compensated all of its team members fully and fairly, and in accordance with the law," spokeswoman Melissa Morey said. "However, to avoid any further costs to the business and interference with our operations, the company has decided to settle the lawsuit." If they settled without changing their practices, they'll be denying liability again in another 3-4 years.