LOS ANGELES — In a major ruling for bank employees across the country, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled mortgage underwriters may not be classified as “administrative” workers and are therefore due overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a single week. The ruling overturns a lower District Court ruling and helps buttress a U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals from 2009 that also held these types of workers cannot be placed into overtime exempt classifications.
The unpaid overtime lawsuit, originally filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, claimed Provident Savings Bank FSB incorrectly classified its mortgage writers as overtime exempt, calling them “administrative” workers. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers may only classify certain types of employees as overtime exempt and these individuals must perform certain duties consistent with the language of the Act.
While a recent 2016 ruling by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held mortgage underwriters could be classified as overtime exempt, the Ninth Circuit applied the judicial reasoning used by the Second Circuit. The defendant claimed the underwriters should be considered administrative workers since the employee’s’ duties related to the management or general business operations of the employer and were therefore compliant with the FLSA.
The judges stated in their unanimous opinion that although the plaintiffs may approve or disapprove a loan, those decisions are based on parameters set by higher ranking company officials and the final determination is made by another group of workers. The judge said in the ruling, “Assessing the loan’s riskiness according to relevant guidelines is quite distinct from assessing or determining Provident’s business interests. Mortgage underwriters are told what is in Provident’s best interest, and then asked to ensure that the product being sold fits within the criteria set by others.”
With the ruling, the case is returned to the lower District Court where the case will proceed to trial if the two sides cannot agree on a settlement. Typically, wage theft victims can receive their back wage plus interest, liquidated damages equal to unpaid income, attorneys fees, and any other compensation the court may see fit.
Mortgage Underwriter Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
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Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.