Chase Sued Over Underwriter Overtime

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. is accused in a federal lawsuit of not paying its underwriters overtime.

A complaint was filed against the New York-based institution yesterday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, according to a statement from plaintiff’s counsel Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP. The plaintiffs seek class action status.

Chase allegedly had a common practice of mis-classifying its loan underwriters as exempt. After it re-classified them to nonexempt in February 2009, it failed to failed to provide backpay to its underwriters for the overtime hours they had worked while classified as exempt. The failure to pay overtime was in violation of federal overtime pay laws.

The news release cited a recent federal appellate court ruling against Chase about whether underwriters are exempt from federal overtime laws.

The statement indicated that Chase employs between 500 and 1,000 underwriters across the country.

“All of us underwriters worked long days and on weekends processing loan applications,” plaintiff and former Chase underwriter Gayla Pickle said in the statement. “It’s only fair that they should pay us for all that overtime.”

A Chase spokesman declined to comment.

Pickle v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
March 29, 2010 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York).

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