Misclassification Lawsuit Against Financial Firm Settles for $3.4 M 

An overtime pay misclassification lawsuit against a big-name financial firm has recently resolved claims of owed wages. This firm, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, is globally noted as one of the largest banks and brokerage firms and the investment and wealth management division of Bank of America. The collective action lawsuit against Merrill Lynch was filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and settled claims of unpaid overtime for $3.4 million. Affected employees for these claims include all current and former Financial Solutions Advisors who worked for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. between August 3, 2020 and August 10, 2022 and should be eligible to recover lost wages from this settlement.

The lawsuit originally alleged that Financial Solutions Advisors were incorrectly classified as exempt from receiving overtime under the FLSA. Their job responsibilities, which included inside sales, production, customer service, attending meetings and completing clerical tasks, should have made them eligible to receive overtime pay. They also exercised little or no independent discretion and judgment in performing their primary duties. These workers were routinely expected to worker over 40 hours per week but were not paid for all of their hours worked at time and a half what their regular hourly rate should have been for hours in excess of 40. Due to the alleged misclassification, Merrill failed to record all of the Financial Solutions Advisors hours worked as well as correctly compensate them for this time. There were also claims that Merrill failed to include incentive pay in their overtime pay calculations.

It is not uncommon for large groups of employees to be victims of a misclassification. Several industries, such as the financial industry, often classify entire groups of workers as exempt from overtime paying them a set salary with no overtime pay despite requiring them to consistently complete more than 40 hours of work per week. It is important to keep in mind that despite how common these pay tactics are, it is your job responsibilities and not your job title that should determine if you should be paid overtime for your work or not. If you have any questions regarding your pay structure, please call our employment law firm, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, for a free and confidential consultation at (212) 300-0375. You can also visit our website here for additional helpful information regarding your work rights.