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Trainees Bring Overtime Claim Against Merrill Lynch

NEW YORK — The Wall Street giant, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., and its parent company, Bank of America Corp., are facing a potential class action wage and overtime pay lawsuit in New York federal court. The most recent lawsuit alleges that Merrill Lynch violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when it failed to pay its trainees overtime wages when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The two trainees who filed the lawsuit seek to represent more than 100 current and former trainees claiming they were misclassified as exempt and, therefore, wrongfully denied the overtime they had earned each week. It is currently estimated that damages in the proposed class action could be more than $5 million.

The Trainees’ Claim

According to the lawsuit, brought by Zaq Harrison and Andrew Blum, trainees would work 10 to 12 hours days, five or more days a week. Many trainees would work weekends and attend after-hours events. They claim this resulted in trainees working around 70 hours in a workweek, yet they did not receive overtime wages for the additional 30 hours they worked, allegedly because they were salaried.

The two plaintiffs were part of the company’s practice management development program from 2011 to 2012. As trainees the plaintiffs were training and working to become financial advisers. While in training they claim they were responsible for generating client leads and convincing potential clients to choose to do business with the company. Because they were trainees, in a development program, and tasked with non-managerial work, the plaintiffs were most likely non-managerial, hourly employees, even though they received a salary. If this is the case, then it is likely they were entitled to overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours a week.

Salaries And Exemption

Many employees, and some employers, believe that when an employee is paid on a salaried basis they are exempt from overtime pay. This, however, is not always the case. For the majority of the overtime pay exemptions under the FLSA, an employee must receive at least $455 each week on a salary basis. But, receiving a salary is only the first requirement for most of the exemptions. If the other requirements, like having a primary duty of managing a department, are not met, then even a salaried employee will likely be entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their regular rate.

If you believe your employer has improperly classified you as exempt, even if you receive a salary, it is important to contact our overtime pay lawyers today. Our knowledgeable team of overtime pay lawyers will evaluate your claim and can be reached at (855) 754-2795. Or you may complete our Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form and our experienced legal team will review your case. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.

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