Wage Theft at the Bank Branch? Suit Alleges Nation’s Largest Bank Cheated Employees out of Overtime Pay
Bank of America never liked holding the astronomical compensation paid to its top brass up to public scrutiny. Now, it appears the nation’s largest bank also prefers that we not look too closely at how it’s paying its ground-level employees. Tellers, customer service managers, and call center workers at branches across the country allege they were ordered to work extra hours without pay, cheated out of overtime compensation, and regularly forced to work through lunch breaks. In short, bank employees in Kansas City, Los Angeles, Charlotte, and other cities claim the bank was padding its bottom line by stealing money from their paychecks, to the tune of $100 million.
Recent revelations about wage theft have focused on workers at the bottom of the labor force, employees at drycleaners, nail salons, landscaping companies, restaurants and garment factories that are routinely cheated out of their already skimpy paychecks and subject to hazardous work conditions, illegal discrimination and retaliation. But white collar workers at the nation’s largest bank say they face essentially the same treatment, from doctored time cards to stolen lunch breaks.
Plaintiff’s attorney George Hanson, quoted in the Kansas City Star, aptly sums up the situation:
“The cases are reflective of what’s happening in the labor market. People’s wages are being chiseled but they’re afraid to complain because of fear of losing their jobs. It’s become par for the course for large employers, with a more-or-less captive employee base, to find ways to cut payroll corners.”
The law-breaking is contagious: if large companies illegally skimp on wages, smaller firms will find it hard to compete without similarly shortchanging their workforce. It’s a recipe for a race to the bottom.