Notre Dame de Namur University is facing a proposed class action lawsuit that claims it failed to pay proper wages as a result of its policy to compensate adjunct professors on a fixed “course rate” or piece-rate basis.
According to the case, the California-based university hires adjunct professors to teach classes once a week for three to four hours over the course of a semester for which they’re to be paid a fixed amount for each class taught. The case claims, however, that the university has required these professors to perform “non-productive tasks” related to course work that are to be done outside of class time. These tasks, the lawsuit says, include preparing for lectures, creating course material, being available to students by phone or email and grading students’ papers, among other duties. The lawsuit contends that proposed class members were entitled to pay for their “non-productive” duties under California’s labor code yet were never compensated for this time.
In addition, the complaint states that members of the putative class were not provided 10-minute paid rest breaks as required by California law, nor an hour’s pay in lieu thereof.
As a result of these practices, the case claims, the defendant failed to pay all owed wages at termination and issued wage statements that did not accurately reflect all hours worked, all hourly rates and all compensable rest periods.
The suit notes that the defendant’s adjunct professors do not qualify as exempt employees since their salary is not twice the state minimum wage.
Originally brought in San Mateo County Superior Court, the lawsuit has since been removed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.