Loan processors have filed a lawsuit against an Indiana-based mortgage lender claiming they were forced to work unpaid overtime and told to lie about it.
The overtime lawsuit is the second in 16 months against Ace Mortgage Funding Inc.
The nationwide collective action against Ace and its principals claims the company did not pay loan processors overtime compensation required under the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to an announcement today by the two firms representing the workers, Burr & Smith LLP and Nichols Kaster & Anderson PLLP.
The suit, brought forward by former Ace loan processors in Missouri and Florida, follows a collective action complaint filed in July 2005 by a group of loan officers, also represented by Burr and Nichols, alleging they worked for weeks at a time without receiving any compensation and were not paid overtime compensation for hours worked over 40. So far, 374 loan officers have joined the nationwide class action certified under the FLSA, which allows individuals employed in similar job positions to pursue overtime pay claims by opting into the lawsuit, the firms said.
The loan processors who filed in Tampa allege that they typically worked as many as 60 hours per week without receiving any overtime premium and that Ace's managers instructed them not to report their overtime hours on their time records, the law firms reported.
"Allegations that mortgage companies have ignored the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime provisions are widespread," Burr's Sam J. Smith said in the announcement. "Here, the plaintiffs allege that Ace did not just ignore the FLSA requirements, but instead requested that loan processors falsify their time records in order to evade the requirements of the FLSA."
Eric Bigelow, Ace general counsel, declined to comment on the accusations for the moment noting, "We have just received the complaint and have not had time to review it."
The Tampa plaintiffs seek to have their case certified as a collective action under the FLSA. To participate in the lawsuit, employees who worked for Ace during the past three years must file a consent to join form, Burr and Nichols said.
"The normal liability period for unpaid wages is two years but Ace will likely incur damages for an extra year because we will show the Court that Ace willfully disregarded its obligation to pay overtime to its loan processors and loan officers," Donald H. Nichols said in the written statement.
Indianapolis, Ind.-based Ace reportedly employs loan processors and loan officers in branches in 18 states, including Alaska, California, Georgia, Kansas, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin.
Burr and Nichols have represented over 15,000 plaintiffs in various cases seeking overtime and minimum wage compensation. The cases include Bank of America, Chase Manhattan Mortgage, Global Executive Mortgage, Washington Mutual, and Oak Street Mortgage.
One of the most recent cases is against Quicken Loans. Nichols said it has sent notice of the Quicken lawsuit to over 3,000 potential class members, of which more than 200 individuals have joined so far and the rest have until Jan. 15, 2007 to sign up.
Broker Sued by LOs Over OT, Minimum Wages
Loan officers in three states have sued an Indianapolis-based mortgage broker over allegations they were not paid minimum wage and overtime compensation.