NEW YORK — Bloomberg LP and a former global customer support representative in New York have agreed to a $3.2 million settlement resolving class and collective claims for overtime pay that were filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The plaintiff, Shavez Jackson, brought claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law for allegedly unpaid overtime. She asserted in her lawsuit that prior to April 2013, Bloomberg misclassified New York-based global customer service representatives as exempt from overtime.
Bloomberg reclassified the representatives to nonexempt status in 2013 pursuant to an agreement with U.S. Department of Labor. Jackson is requesting for the court to preliminarily approve the settlement and will seek up to a $100,000 enhancement award as the representative plaintiff.
The class includes all individuals who worked as New York-based global customer service representatives from March 26, 2007 through March 31, 2014. Additionally, the terms of the settlement agreement seek to expand the class definition to include 37 individuals who worked in a temporary capacity through a staffing agency. However, the agreement provides Bloomberg with the option of withdrawing from the settlement if more than 150 class members choose not to participate.
Alleged Overtime Violations
In her complaint, Jackson alleged that Bloomberg failed to pay a premium of time-and-one-half for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek and that representatives frequently worked off-the-clock hours from home or remotely. The federal district court conditionally certified the FLSA collective action. The court indicated that the fact that Bloomberg first classified all the global customer service representatives as exempt and then reclassified them to nonexempt strongly supported granting class certification and cut against Bloomberg’s contention that individualized inquiries would be necessary.
Misclassification and the Definition of Employee
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, most workers are employees under the FLSA’s expansive definitions. The very broad definition of employment under the FLSA as “to suffer or permit to work” and FLSA’s intended expansive coverage for workers must be considered when determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. This determination should not be done mechanically or in a vacuum, and no single factor should be over-emphasized.
Employee misclassification remains a substantial issue that leaves many workers without the valuable protections of FLSA and other labor laws. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel your employee wage rights have been violated because you have been misclassified as an independent contractor. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.