Former Wells Client Associate Files Overtime Class-Action Suit
A former client associate at a Wells Fargo Advisors branch near St. Louis has filed a putative class-action claim asserting that the firm discouraged him and others from submitting overtime claims despite frequently working more than 40 hours a week.
The lawsuit seeks unpaid wages, fees and damages under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act on behalf of all client associates who worked at the firm within three years of the January 13 filing, and under Missouri’s minimum wage law for all employees who worked in the state in the previous two years.
The suit will initially seek to certify only local employees as class members but could be extended nationally, said Nicholas Conlon, a lawyer at Brown, LLC, the Jersey City, NJ, firm that is lead counsel on the case. He estimated there are hundreds of state employees who could qualify, and thousands nationally, if lawyers expand the case.
Marcus D’Addio, the named plaintiff in the case, worked at Wells Advisors’ Frontenac, MO, branch for nine years before leaving last May, according to the lawsuit. He became a registered client associate within two years of his start date, according to his BrokerCheck profile, but Conlon said the suit does not limit the potential class to registered associates.
Client associates are limited to reporting they worked five eight-hour shifts weekly, and Wells “knew and/or recklessly disregarded” that they were not reporting their overtime hours in its timekeeping system, according to the lawsuit.
“Wells Fargo has extensive policies and practices to ensure all employees are compensated for all hours worked, including overtime hours,” Shea Leordeanu, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo Advisors, wrote in an email.
She did not address whether Wells will seek to dismiss the claim, as is common in class-action filings, or move it to arbitration.
“We are not aware of any agreement that would require this case to be sent to arbitration,” Conlon said, “but, if shown, we are prepared to pursue it there as well.”
Wells Fargo Clearing Services, the named defendant, has until early February to respond to the complaint.
The bank-owned broker in 2013 reached a $4 million settlement with thousands of client associates who said the bank had an unwritten policy of paying them for scheduled hours only.
The settlement was reached after a judge granted class-action status to current and former unlicensed client associates who sued under federal law. The case was adjudicated in the same Missouri district as the one where the D’Addio litigation was filed.