Merrill Lynch and its parent company Bank of America have been accused of violating minimum wage laws, according to a proposed class action complaint. The suit is brought on behalf of customer service call center employees at its Rolling Meadows, Illinois-based facility by one of their former co-workers. The former employees claim the bank is failing to pay the call center workers for tasks they perform to start and end their work days and during their breaks.
BofA and Merrill successfully transferred the lawsuit on June 20 from an Illinois state court to a federal court in Chicago.
With their managers tacitly condoning the practice, the call center employees boot up their computers, initialize systems and read company-issued emails and instructions, all without getting paid for that time, according to the lawsuit’s allegations.
During break periods and at the end of the day, the employees similarly perform tasks off the clock — completing customer service calls, closing down software programs, and logging on and off the system, according to the lawsuit's allegations.
“[T]heir managers on the floor of the call center did not make any effort to stop or otherwise disallow this pre-shift work and instead allowed and permitted it to happen,” the lawsuit states.
Meanwhile, the managers bar personal telephone calls and personal cell phones from the call center floor, according to the allegations.
A BofA spokesman said the bank disagrees with the allegations. Plaintiff lawyers who filed claims in state court did not return requests for comment.
The type of allegations in the lawsuit are from novel or new. Plaintiff lawyers have targeted other employers including AT&T, UnitedHealth Group and Cigna with similar claims as far back as a decade ago.