A Tennessee woman has brought a class action in Chicago federal court against a Florida-based bank that employed her, alleging the bank shorted her and all other home-based mortgage loan processors like her, the overtime pay she believes they are due under the law.
Tiffany Calabrese, of Hermitage, Tenn., worked from November 2013 to November 2015 as a loan processor for CBC National Bank, which is based in Fernandina Beach, Fla. The bank has mortgage offices in 10 states, including in the suburban Chicago communities of Rosemont and Shorewood.
Calabrese handled work from the bank’s Rosemont office from her home, first in west suburban Aurora, then in Hermitage. She and other CBC loan processors collected and organized paperwork from bank customers in order to process mortgage loan applications, primary duties she argued should have entitled them under the Fair Labor Standards Act to overtime pay of at least time and a half for any work beyond 40 hours each week.
According to her complaint, however, CBC considered Calabrese and other employees in similar jobs to be exempt from FSA guidelines, and paid its loan processors with an annual salary and bonus payments for each file closed. She said she had a $60,000 annual salary, paid bimonthly, with $100 bonuses for each mortgage processed. That salary works out to about $29 per hour.
Per the complaint, “She was not required to report hours worked in any fashion and was not paid any overtime.”
During her two years with the bank, Calabrese estimated she worked an average of about 60 hours a week. She argued the bank either was or should have been aware that loan processors were entitled to overtime pay and that “nondiscretionary bonus income must be included when calculating the overtime rate of pay.”
Even without the per-file-closed “bonus” payments, Calabrese’s extra 20 hours a week would have to be paid at 1.5 times her base pay rate – which in her case she contended would have entitled her to more than $90,000 in additional pay over the two years she worked for the bank.
The complaint’s lone formal count, the FLSA violation, said the bank “knew, or showed reckless disregard for the fact, that it failed to pay these individuals overtime compensation in violation of the FLSA,” and said the bank failed to accurately record, report or preserve employee work hour records.
The class would include loan officers who work for CBC mortgage division offices in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. According to the complaint, mortgages account for at least $500,000 in business each year for CBC.
In addition to class certification and a jury trial, Calabrese asked the court to award payment for back wages at applicable overtime rates as well as liquid damages, legal fees and interest. It also requested leave to add additional plaintiffs by motion or filing of consent forms, as well as to amend the complaint to add additional state law claims.
Calabrese is represented by attorneys Brendan J. Donelon, of Kansas City, Mo., and Daniel W. Craig, of Donelon’s firm’s St. Louis office.