JPMorgan Chase Bank NA has reached an agreement to pay up to $12 million to settle a putative class action alleging its tellers and other bank employees in 12 states worked off the clock. About 145,000 current and former Chase tellers, bankers, assistant branch manager trainees and sales specialists will be eligible for the settlement. The Plaintiffs are asking for preliminary approval of the settlement.
The suit, originally filed in 2011, accuses Chase of not paying its workers proper wages or overtime because of not counting some hours worked, not giving duty-free meal or rest breaks, and not paying for employee uniforms, among other claims. In addition to Fair Labor and Standard Act (FLSA) violations, the suit alleges Chase violated state labor laws in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. The Plaintiffs moved for class certification in October 2013, but both sides agreed to mediation following Chase’s opposition in March. In July, the parties agreed to a settlement and advised the court.
The litigation against Chase involves five suits that have been consolidated. Employees had to work off the clock before and after shifts and during breaks, and though employees regularly worked overtime, Chase discouraged them from accurately reporting their hours, the Plaintiffs said, adding that managers actually would alter time records. In addition, Chase used an accounting system that converted worked minutes into fractions of an hour, and then converted that fraction into decimals, which translated to employees not being paid for all the time they worked, according to the Plaintiffs.
Chase required branch employees working at the end of the day to stay inside their banks when there were cash shortages, up to 30 minutes per shift, according to the most recent amended complaint, filed last month. The Plaintiffs further claimed that Chase’s policy of converting the number of minutes worked into a decimal system also cut down their wages because fractions such as one-third cannot accurately be converted to decimals. Chase has countered that the practice doesn’t necessarily hurt employees because an employee’s time is just as likely to be rounded up as rounded down. The case is in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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