Lansafe Appraisal Services Inc., an appraisal subsidiary of Bank of America, recently agreed to pay a $36 million settlement in a class action lawsuit in which the company was accused of wrongfully classifying residential real estate appraisers as being exempt from overtime pay. There were 365 members of the plaintiff class, each of whom will now receive approximately $100,000.
Bank of America had previously claimed the appraisers in question fell under various “white collar” overtime exemptions outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act and California state labor laws. The plaintiffs, however, argued that the appraisers did not sell anything, but their work was still essential to producing residential loan sales for the company.
Bank of America admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement, and a representative even said the company “continues to believe the past decision to classify staff appraisers… as exempt was appropriate,” and that the company simply settled to avoid having to pay further legal costs.
Landsafe offers market value appraisals for a variety of properties in conjunction with residential mortgage loan transactions to divisions and subsidiaries of Bank of America. Appraisers are paid on commission. However, the plaintiffs said they were forced to work nights, holidays and weekends without getting any overtime pay, and they were not provided with breaks or meals. They were also not provided with itemized wage statements or reimbursements.
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