Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC recently filed a collective and class action lawsuit against Sterling Savings Bank (“Sterling”) and Golf Savings Bank (“Golf”) on behalf of Mortgage Loan Officers for unpaid overtime and illegal wage deductions. Sterling merged with Golf in 2010 and now has Mortgage Loan Officers in almost 200 locations in the Northwestern United States. The lawsuit is filed as a collective action which means that other Sterling and Golf Mortgage Loan Officers with the same or similar job duties may join the case to seek their unpaid wages. The case is DuBeau et al v. Sterling Savings Bank et al, 1:12-cv-01602-CL and is filed in the Federal District Court of Oregon, Medford Division.
The lawsuit alleges that Sterling and Golf violated federal wage and hour laws by failing to pay their Mortgage Loan Officers overtime. Sterling pays Mortgage Loan Officers on a commission only basis and instructs them that they are not entitled to overtime compensation. Sterling previously paid them on an hourly basis and a draw against commission basis. However, Sterling never paid them overtime, but the lawsuit claims that Sterling lacks any legal basis under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for denying them overtime.
According to the lawsuit, Mortgage Loan Officers commonly work in excess of forty hours per week. Plaintiffs allege that the principal job duty of Mortgage Loan Officers to sell mortgages to individual consumers. Mortgage Loan Officers sell mortgages to consumers from company offices or the telephone, and do not sell mortgages at consumers’ homes or places of business. As such, Plaintiffs contend that Mortgage Loan Officers are entitled to overtime.
The failure to pay employees their earned overtime wages and minimum wage violates the FLSA. The FLSA provides for recovery of unpaid overtime wages, an equal amount for liquidated damages, attorney’s fees, and litigation costs. Back wages can be sought over a three-year period from the date the employee joins the case. Both present and former Sterling and Golf may participate in the case.
Finally, Plaintiffs contend that Sterling and Golf violated Oregon law by illegally deducting from Mortgage Loan Officers’ wages such items as credit report fees, appraisal fees, Rapid Rescore fees, credit supplement fees, and other like items. Plaintiffs seek to recover these fees as well as penalties and interest.
Press coverage of this important case has been extensive. Examples of press coverage include: