Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a class-action sex discrimination claim brought by thousands of female Walmart employees who claimed the company’s “good old boys” network cost them promotion opportunities. Now the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has clarified how far the decision goes in class-action wage-and-hour cases.
Recent case: A group of hourly bank employees and another group of managers sued Charter One, alleging they had been denied overtime pay. The hourly employees claimed the bank under-recorded hours worked. The managers claimed the bank purposely misclassified them as exempt.
The court said the class-action status was valid. Unlike the Walmart case, the bank employees were contesting specific actions and policies that might violate the Fair Labor Standards Act. The court said that wasn’t the same as an unofficial attitude favoring men over women. (Ross, et al., v. RBS, No. 10-3848, 7th Cir., 2012)