Thank you to everyone who helped contribute to this investigation. Unfortunately, at this point, attorneys working with ClassAction.org have decided to close their investigation into this matter. If you have questions regarding your rights, please reach out to an attorney in your area. Most offer free consultations.
The information below was posted when the investigation began and exists for reference only. Our open list of investigations can be found here.
At A Glance
What's Going on?
Attorneys are investigating whether class action lawsuits can be filed on behalf of real estate appraisers who worked more than 40 hours a week and didn't get overtime.
Can I Get Fired?
Employers are prohibited by federal law from firing, demoting or otherwise retaliating against employees who exercise their legal rights.
What's the Catch?
There is none. Attorneys are investigating whether some banks and appraisal service companies are paying their real estate appraisers properly and want to put these workers in touch with attorneys who can help.
Attorneys are investigating whether real estate appraisers who weren’t paid overtime can start class action lawsuits.
They have reason to believe a number of companies may have misclassified their staff appraisers as “exempt” from overtime pay – meaning they may not be getting the extra pay they’re owed when working more than 40 hours a week. One lawsuit against a Bank of America subsidiary has already been filed and settled, awarding an average payout of $100,000 per staff appraiser.
Am I Owed Overtime As a Real Estate Appraiser?
The fact is, most employees are entitled to overtime pay when working more than 40 hours a week. Your employer can only legally deny you overtime if you’re “exempt” – meaning that the way you’re paid and the job duties you perform disqualify you from overtime pay under federal law.
Just because your employer says you’re an exempt employee, however, doesn’t mean you actually are. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of workers who say their employers intentionally misclassified them as exempt to avoid paying overtime.
What Types of Workers Aren’t Owed Overtime?
While a job title alone is not enough to disqualify a worker from overtime, workers who are usually exempt from overtime pay include:
Outside sales professionals
Doctors, lawyers, teachers, artists and other professionals working in a creative or scientific field
These workers generally fall under one of the six white collar exemptions to federal overtime law. It is believed that most real estate appraisers do not fit into any of these exemptions.
What About the Administrative Exemption?
There is an exemption that applies to administrators and a number of employees who work in the financial services industry fall under this exemption. Attorneys do not believe, however, that real estate appraisers qualify for this exemption.
To be an “exempt administrator,” the employee must, among other things, exercise discretion and independent judgment. It is believed that the manner of most real estate appraisers’ work does not qualify them for this exemption as they are often required to adhere to strict pre-established guidelines and procedures and lack a significant say in the appraisal values they assign.
Additionally, while there is an exemption for workers who earn at least $100,000 in salary, commissions and bonuses per year, the employee must also meet the criteria of the executive, administrative or professional employee exemption to be disqualified from overtime pay.
How a Class Action Can Help
Some real estate appraisers are working weekends, holidays and long hours without additional compensation. A class action lawsuit could help these workers recover compensation for their unpaid overtime hours and seek a change to their employers’ payment practices.