In the span of a few month, IBM has been hit with two overtime lawsuits from former employees. The first was filed July 9 and the second was filed just last week.
The most recent suit, filed July 20 in the U.S. District Court for Eastern California by John Bennett, Bill Graham, and Peter Stanger is a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all current and former sales representatives within the state of California.
Three IBM salesman claim they regularly worked more than eight hours a day and more than 40 hours each week without their required meal and rest breaks, and claim that they are entitled to overtime compensation.
On May 21, another former IBM sales representative, Tom Chau, filed suit against IBM, also in the U.S. District Court for Eastern California, claiming that he was denied overtime pay. The suit is a class action lawsuit as well, extending to all sales specialists employed by IBM in the state of California.
The central issue in both cases is that the salesmen were paid on a salary basis while receiving commission based on their sales, irrespective of the number of hours they worked. The suit claims that they were unlawfully classified as exempt from overtime compensation by being classified as managers, who in white-collar jobs are generally not entitled to overtime benefits.
Bennett et al are asking for the missing wages with interest, coverage of their legal fees and for a fund to be created by IBM for which to compensate other workers owed back pay. Chau is seeking unspecified wages.
IBM responded to the Chau lawsuit July 23, denying any wrongdoing.
"The Complaint and each and every cause of action alleged therein is barred since, at all material time, Chau and putative class members were exempt from California overtime compensation and meal and rest breaks because, among other things, they were employed in an outside sales and/or administrative capacity," wrote IBM in court documents.