Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Overtime Lawsuits

I watch with mild interest all of the overtime lawsuits that get computer companies are settling these days.

International Business Machines Corp. said Wednesday it will settle a class action lawsuit with certain IBM current and former employees for $65 million.

...alleged that certain employees in IBM's Technical Services Professional and Information Technology Specialist job categories were improperly classified as exempt from overtime.

IBM is just the latest of course. Earlier this month, Oracle (on behalf of Siebel) settled a similar lawsuit. And CSC, EA and others also settled cases in the last few years.

My interest is, obviously, at least somewhat self-centered in terms of wondering if and when my former employer will face a similar lawsuit. Over the years, I mentioned several times the excessive hours I worked to get things done on the necessary schedules.

Now, I don't have any issue with extra hours within reason as required, and I've never been accused of not being a productive worker. But as the company spiraled further and further into financial difficulties, the pressure to 'do more with less' rocketed upwards. Certainly when you institute a policy of only replacing one out of every two people who leave (or less) and don't reduce the workload, something has to give. And we wouldn't be talking pocket change here. Based on what I recall of my average hours per week just for the last year, we'd be talking over 50 grand.

I did note with some interest that many of the lower-level technical positions that were salaried at my previous company are hourly at my new company. I assume that's directly related to overtime lawsuits.


Bill Roehl said...

My father works for a small company that was sued for overtime pay. I don't remember the specifics but basically, anything you work over 40 hours in a single work week (even if their pay periods are 80) is overtime and you are to be compensated for it regardless.

So, his company owed 12.5 million dollars in overtime -- even to employees that hadn't worked there in 10+ years.

Steve Eck said...

I think the amounts add up pretty quickly. The Siebel lawsuit was settled for something like 24 million and involved only 800 employees.