US: Thrift Faces Labor-Law Suit

Two law firms representing former employees of Washington Mutual Inc. in California, New York and Illinois have sued the Seattle-based thrift, accusing the company of violating labor laws by failing to pay overtime and the federal minimum wage.

The complaint, filed Monday in New York federal court, alleged that in some cases, Washington Mutual home loan consultants were not paid for hours they worked on a case if they did not close the loan.

The lawsuit names three plaintiffs who once worked as Washington Mutual home loan consultants: one in Modesto, one in Hauppauge, N.Y., and one in Chicago.

The law firms of Nichols Kaster & Anderson, based in Minneapolis, and New York-based Outten & Golden said they would ask that the case be certified as a class action that includes current and former home loan consultants nationwide.

The firms say home loan consultants at Washington Mutual regularly work more than 40 hours a week and have not received overtime pay for all the hours worked.

In an e-mail statement, Washington Mutual spokeswoman Libby Hutchinson said the company had no comment on the allegations because it had not seen the complaint.

"However, we believe our compensation practices are fair and ethical, and we will vigorously defend our company against the allegations made," Hutchinson said.

Federal labor law allows companies to exempt some workers from overtime, but Donald Nichols, one of the attorneys on the case, said neither the plaintiffs' job duties nor Washington Mutual's compensation plan qualified them for the exemption.

AMP Section Name:Labor
  • 186 Financial Services, Insurance and Banking

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