A Missouri judge has effectively dismissed a potential class-action lawsuit alleging that Wells Fargo Clearing Services withheld overtime pay from qualifying employees at its broker-dealer offices.
Judge Sarah Pitlyk issued the ruling last Wednesday, granting a motion, filed by Wells Fargo’s attorneys, to reverse a prior ruling that would have allowed the matter to proceed as a class action.
Pitlyk’s ruling means that Wells Fargo has escaped the possibility of a jury awarding many millions to a large class of claimants. All plaintiffs who opted into the class can still pursue individual claims.
The two lead plaintiffs, Marcus D’Addio and Michael Silvestri, meanwhile, are headed to arbitration, per their employment agreements. A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Dispute Resolution Services panel will determine their outcomes.
The matter dates to 2007, when Silvestri joined a Philadelphia Wells Fargo office as an operations liaison. D’Addio joined a Wells Fargo office as a client associate in Frontenac, Missouri about four years later. In their lawsuit, the men alleged that they and other brokerage associates, client associates and operations liaisons were expected to work five eight-hour shifts a week, but that they regularly worked additional hours and were not permitted to report those hours, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Missouri in January 2021. The parties are expected to agree to a dismissal within a week, per last week’s ruling.
In support of their motion to decertify the class, Wells Fargo’s attorneys cited depositions from other Wells Fargo workers who claimed that they had, in fact, received overtime pay and that there was no policy requiring overtime.
According to a statement provided by a Wells Fargo spokesperson, the firm “is confident our applicable policies are lawful and that we’ve properly paid the employees at issue in the case. We are pleased with the court’s order effectively ending this case and confirming the validity of our actions.” The plaintiffs’ attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.
Wells Fargo still faces other suits alleging violations of the FLSA regarding overtime pay. According to a Bloomberg report, the firm is seeking to choke off class opt-ins in a Pennsylvania lawsuit, and FA-IQ earlier this year reported on a similar lawsuit filed against the firm by Florida registered client associates.