Hundreds of Lennar Workers Awarded $43.5 Million in Long-Running Overtime Lawsuit
A common type of wage and hour violation is when employers refuse to pay overtime to eligible employees. According to California law, non-exempt employees who work more than eight hours in a workday should be paid overtime at 1.5 times their regular rate of pay. Workers must be paid double their regular rate of pay for all hours worked more than 12 in a workday.
Certain jobs are exempt from overtime, such as managerial and professional positions with a high level of responsibility. You may still be eligible for overtime, however, even if an employer pays you a salary and says you are exempt.
Many workers mistakenly believe they are exempt and lose out on significant overtime compensation. A recent lawsuit serves as a cautionary tale about the impact of worker misclassification and unpaid overtime.
A long-running lawsuit was finally settled, providing relief to hundreds of employees who were cheated out of overtime pay for many years. The decision ended a 15-year struggle by employees to recover overtime wages dating back to 2003.
Around 400 California workers were awarded a $43.5 million judgment in the class action lawsuit against Lennar Title Inc., a Miami-based title company. A Fresno County Superior Court judge approved the award, which included around $22 million in overtime pay plus $21 million in interest.
According to the lawsuit, Lennar misclassified workers as supervisors and managers to avoid paying overtime. Managerial positions are typically exempt from overtime.
Lennar changed employees’ job titles and attempted to find loopholes to get out of paying overtime. One instance involved an escrow officer being told she was the janitor’s supervisor, while another worker was instructed to supervise her own supervisor.
Employees often worked late into the night, sometimes even around the clock. Even though Lennar knew workers were not exempt from overtime, they were forced to work long hours without the extra pay they had the right to receive.
The lawsuit was first filed in 2007, but it was delayed due to multiple appeals filed by the defendant’s legal team. Additionally, the judge had to undertake a lengthy process of determining the amount of overtime pay employees were owed.
One of the plaintiffs, Dana Forsythe, warned other workers not to make the same mistake of working extra hours without overtime pay. She said the court found that Lennar owed her thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. When Forsythe was hired in 2002, Lennar told her that escrow officers were not eligible for overtime pay. She said, “I was new, so I didn’t question it.”
If you are working for an employer who denied you overtime pay or expects you to work extra hours without paying overtime, you should contact a skilled employment lawyer right away. The attorney can help you recover the wages you are owed.
At McCormack Law Firm, our San Francisco unpaid wages lawyers are dedicated to fighting for the rights of hardworking employees. While our law firm was not involved with this class action lawsuit, we have experience representing workers in several other class actions, as well as individual employees’ wage and hour lawsuits. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
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