IBM Workers Sue for OT

Last year Oracle settled a similar lawsuit, brought by sales employees, for $12 million; other tech companies that have been on the receiving end include Electronic Arts and Hewlett-Packard.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against IBM, alleging that the company has denied overtime pay to tens of thousands of workers who install and maintain computers, according to published reports.

The complaint, filed in federal court in San Francisco, asserts that the company falsely classified workers as exempt from overtime pay, according to Bloomberg, which cited James Finberg, an attorney for several plaintiffs. “We believe that those tens of thousands of workers have worked tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of unpaid overtime hours,” Finberg reportedly said at a press conference.

An IBM spokesman did not offer comment to Bloomberg.

The wire service also noted that last year, Oracle settled a similar lawsuit, brought by sales employees, for $12 million. Other tech companies that have been on the receiving end include Electronic Arts and Hewlett-Packard.

Under federal law, most employees working more than 40 hours a week are entitled to overtime pay, unless they fall under specific legal exemptions. Bloomberg elaborated that these laws exempt most executives, administrative staffers, and highly skilled software engineers who exercise “discretion and independent judgment” in their jobs.

Lawyers for the IBM workers assert that computer maintenance and installation workers who are following company procedures and aren’t in decision-making roles aren’t exempt, according to the wire service.

“There were many occasions when I was required to work in excess of 40 hours per week,” said Exaldo Topacio. According to The New York Times, he worked for IBM for a year, beginning in March 2003, as a technical support worker in the company’s New York network support division. Topacio reportedly also maintained that these kinds of violations are common in the tech industry.

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