"One of the nation's premier plaintiffs' firms."
"Representing the best qualities of the plaintiffs' bar."
The National Law Journal
"Their effective and caring advocacy for clients has earned Lieff Cabraser its first-class reputation."
The Daily Journal
Plaintiffs' Counsel Announces IBM Tech Workers File Nationwide Overtime Pay Class Action Lawsuit in Federal Court
January 24, 2006
Suit by Current and Former Employees is One of the Largest Class Actions Ever Filed For Failure To Pay Overtime Wages
San Francisco, CA -- Current and former employees of International Business Machine Corporation (IBM) today filed a nationwide class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco charging the computer giant with failure to pay overtime wages in violation of federal and state labor laws.
The suit, Rosenburg, et al. v. IBM, was filed by attorneys from Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, Lewis Feinberg Renaker & Jackson, P.C., Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff, LLP, and Outten & Golden LLP and others on behalf of IBM technical employees.
The company employs more than 250,000 workers; the proposed class includes tens of thousand of systems administrators, network technicians and other technical staff throughout the United States.
"IBM’s employees, including tens of thousands of technical support workers, work hard to build the company’s annual sales of more than $90 billion," stated a Lieff Cabraser partner. "These technical workers deserve to get compensated for the long hours they put in to make IBM successful." Lieff Cabraser attorneys noted that this case constitutes one of the largest class action lawsuits, both in numbers of employees and total damages, ever filed against a corporation for failure to pay overtime wages.
The complaint charges that IBM unlawfully characterizes its employees who install and maintain computer software and equipment as “exempt” under state and federal labor laws in order to deprive them of overtime pay. The proposed classes consist of current and former IBM technical support workers with the primary duties of installing and/or maintaining computer software and hardware for IBM who were wrongly classified by the company as exempt from the overtime provisions of federal law and/or applicable state wage and hour laws.
"The lawsuit seeks to affirm the principle that software and hardware installation and maintenance employees, including IT staff, are entitled to protection under federal and state overtime pay laws," said Steven G. Zieff, a partner with Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff. "A corporation cannot avoid paying overtime wages simply by providing a fancy sounding title to workers who are entitled to overtime pay under the law."
Plaintiff Exaldo Topacio, 40, was a technical support worker for IBM in its New York Network Support division responsible for installing and maintaining computer software and hardware for the company. “There were many occasions when I was required to work in excess of 40 hours a week – but I never received overtime pay for this.
"What they did to me and other tech support workers is simply unfair. I worked hard for the company, and was not compensated for all the hours I put in for IBM," said Topacio who left IBM in 2004 and now runs his own small construction business.
Lewis Feinberg Renaker & Jackson, P.C. principal Todd F. Jackson explained, "Workers are entitled to overtime pay unless they fall under a specific legal exemption, such as computer programmers who develop software. The plaintiffs and class members in this lawsuit are responsible for installing software and maintaining computer networks, not developing new software. They do not qualify for the software development exemption, or any other exemption, under wage and hour laws."
"Ironically, IBM recruits employees by touting that it is a company ‘where you can find work/life balance and make a difference,’” noted Adam T. Klein of Outten & Golden LLP. “We believe the evidence will show that IBM failed to comply with its basic obligation to pay its employees fairly and in accordance with the law."
The plaintiffs are asking the federal court to issue an injunction requiring IBM to provide overtime pay to eligible employees as well as compensation and damages to current and former employees who were denied overtime.
In addition to the law firms listed above, the plaintiffs are also represented by the Los Angeles firm of Spiro, Moss, Barness, Harrison & Barge, LLP; the Dallas firm of Lee & Braziel, LLP; the Houston firm of Bruckner Burch, PLLC; and the Oakland firm of Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian.
Source | Contact
Kelly M. Dermody
LIEFF CABRASER HEIMANN & BERNSTEIN, LLP
Tel.: (415) 956-1000