Bank of America faces a proposed class action over its alleged failure to reimburse the necessary business expenses of mortgage employees who worked from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 21-page lawsuit also claims Bank of America instituted an unlawful pay plan for work-from-home mortgage personnel whereby it advanced a base pay against commission only to later take that money back. Per the case, BofA has also failed to pay mortgage workers for rest breaks and remit proper minimum and overtime wages.
According to the complaint, Bank of America, since March 2020, has failed to pay for at-home mortgage workers’ internet and phone service, personal computer usage, office supplies, utility bills and/or the fair rental value of space used for a home office, in violation of California’s Labor Code.
The plaintiff, a Sacramento County resident, says he worked for BofA as a mortgage home loan salesperson and supervisor for the bank’s home loan mortgage division. Employees such as the plaintiff were paid sales commissions, whereby their income was derived from mortgage sales, the suit states. The lawsuit alleges, however, that Bank of America advanced the plaintiff and similarly situated workers a base pay against their commissions, only to claw back the advance from those commissions.
The suit contends that, under California law, such advances amount to a loan, and not compensation or a salary. As a result of the alleged practice, the plaintiff and proposed class members, despite working 50 hours per week or more, were not paid the minimum wage for certain non-sales tasks or paid proper overtime, much less paid for meal or rest breaks, the lawsuit says.
“Defendant’s pay plan failed to compensate for non-sales work,” the complaint reads. “Defendant failed to pay Plaintiff and Class members for all hours worked, including but not limited to, meetings, loan processing, training, loan tracking and/or customer service.”
The lawsuit looks to represent a proposed class of all current and former Bank of America employees who worked in California (in any exempt or non-exempt capacity) and who incurred business expenses as a result of their performance of duties for the bank while working from home during the coronavirus crisis at any time since March 1, 2020. Similarly, the suit proposes to cover a separate class of all current and former Bank of America mortgage loan officers, salespersons, supervisors or those in similar positions in California who were paid an advance against commission at any time within the last four years.
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