CHICAGO — A federal judge has pulled the plug on a lawsuit accusing the Chicago Mercantile Exchange of skimping on some workers' pay by denying them the shift differential payments at least one plaintiff alleged they were owed.
U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah delivered the decision on Oct. 6, granting defendants Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and CME Group's motion for summary judgment. The decision brought to an end the plaintiff’s argument that he was rightfully denied shift differential payment.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange
The action had been brought by named plaintiff Michael Walsh, who worked what his complaint described as an "entry-level" job with the title of "Supervisor Building Operations" from 2011-2016. The position did not manage any other employees, and initially paid $34 per hour, according to the complaint.
Walsh alleged he was not properly compensated with shift differential payments by his supervisor for the nights and weekends he worked at the trading exchange. He said this violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Illinois Wage Payment and Compensation Act (IWPCA) and the Illinois Minimum Wage Act (IMWA).
In response, CME contested the allegations, arguing, in part, Walsh had no claim to such shift differential payments, as the company never discussed the payments with him at the time he was hired or in the job offer letter.
Walsh conceded he was not made aware of shift differential payments when he was hired, though he was informed that he would be working overtime, nights, midnights and afternoons. However, he alleged that during the first week of employment, he saw that his human resources profile said he was hired at a “second shift 10 percent shift differential,” but he allegedly was told by his supervisor that was not the case.
Two years later, Walsh claimed “he found CME’s written 2012 Shift Differential Policy for the first time when he was looking at the Human Resources policies on the intranet sometime in late 2013,” according to the opinion.
Shah noted that while Walsh claimed that CME owed him shift differential payments according to the 2012 company-wide written policy, CME countered that the company-wide policy is carried out at the discretion of each department's director.
Shah decided that even if Walsh had demonstrated that the written policy or his supervisor’s statements qualified him for shift differential payments, Walsh’s continued at-will employment without the added pay was reason enough to dismiss his demand for summary judgement.
“There was no agreement to pay Walsh shift differential pay, and therefore, Walsh’s regular pay under the applicable statutes did not include shift differential pay," Shah wrote in the decision. "In turn, [the] defendants are not liable for any wages."
CME Group was represented in the action by attorneys with the firm of Littler Mendelson P.C., of Chicago.
Walsh was represented by the Law Office of Samuel Shim, of Rolling Meadows.