What's the deal with these O/T lawsuits?

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Aug 10, 2006 7:01 pm

This seems ridiculous...that brokers should earn overtime pay, when we're on 100% commission.  I see the lawyers are coming after my firm now (A.G. Edwards), and that Merrill, MSDW, Smith Barney, UBS, and others have already settled.


My question, for those who work at the above wirehouse...did you get anything out of the settlement??  When the money is paid, where does it go??

Aug 10, 2006 9:31 pm

Admittedly, I don't know much about the lawsuit, it's merits or lack thereof, but I have to wonder if to a degree, firms haven't brought this stupidity on themselves by mandating 70-hour weeks, including Saturdays for new reps, and even putting these demands in writing.  I think it was Maybeeee(etc.) that brought this to our attention, and my first thought was that this practice is just asking for a lawsuit.  I understand requiring reps to work during market hours, and impressing upon them that success is unlikely unless you put in some long hours, and even suggesting a schedule (including some evenings and weekends) that will increase success, but mandating this stuff in writing seems to me to be asking for problems.  A smarter course of action seems to be mandating minimum production targets at certain levels.  Slackers will tend to weed themselves out with this system, making mandated hours a moot point.


On the other hand, it's been pointed out that participating in a class action suit at the expense of your employer is probably not the wisest course of action if you value your position.  I understand that settlements may only be a few hundred dollars...hardly worth pissing off your boss...

Aug 10, 2006 10:27 pm

So how do I get my piece of the pie?

Aug 11, 2006 8:53 am
whalehunter:

So how do I get my piece of the pie?


You don't want it.  It will only be peanuts for what you may see as a result.

Aug 11, 2006 6:34 pm

If the B/D's lose a bunch of these lawsuits how will they protect themselves in the future.? Brokers punching time clocks?  No thanks.  The people who are all worked up to get a cash judgement are pretty short sighted in my opnion.

Aug 11, 2006 7:36 pm

It's very interesting to me.  I worked for a consumer elctronics retailer and went through this.  After the lawsuit was settled I received a check for close to $10K, that was back in 1992 and the merits of the case were the same.  Commission pay, required hours beyond 40 that were not documented, and all wrapped in the context of, "Do it or else you're fired".


When I went to work for a wirehouse it was a variation on the same thing.  "Call nights, seminars, training, sales assistant pay, ticket charges that went against the firm were docked from your check.  The pay was so crappy my collegues wife thought we was "Volunteering" not working.


When firms lay people off they're bitter...I know I was.  You have to think someone's goona talk to an attorney.  That's the nature of business in the Good Ol' USA..."File a Lawsuit" and hope to settle.  If you can't accept that then what are doing in this business anyway?



Aug 13, 2006 10:33 pm

Settlements are not "a few hundred dollars"  300.00 for every month you worked at a wirehouse in CA.  7 years worth of b.s has me getting over 25,000.  The way these companies rip off the brokers, it should be more.  Congrats to Mark Thieren for making some serious $$$ for himself, and actually allowing brokers to see something worthwhile... These suits are just getting started outside CA..be patient it will make its way around according to Mark.

Aug 14, 2006 8:07 am

I am sure all of us FL reps will be out in the cold since I think FL is not a right to work state and some how we will be shafted.

Aug 14, 2006 8:39 am
fritz:

Settlements are not "a few hundred dollars"  300.00 for every month you worked at a wirehouse in CA.  7 years worth of b.s has me getting over 25,000.  The way these companies rip off the brokers, it should be more.  Congrats to Mark Thieren for making some serious $$$ for himself, and actually allowing brokers to see something worthwhile... These suits are just getting started outside CA..be patient it will make its way around according to Mark.


What a whining failure this guy must be.


Brokers should be delighted that their firm agrees to allow them to stay after five o'clock.


The unintended consequence of this will be that firms will close the doors at five and require everybody to leave.


Class action lawyers are the biggest sleazeballs in our society--followed closely by those who support what they do.


Aug 16, 2006 6:49 pm

It is wrong when a firm requires you to do extra activities and will not compensate you for it.

Aug 16, 2006 6:53 pm
peanutbroker:

It is wrong when a firm requires you to do extra activities and will not compensate you for it.


Nonsense you're not a hourly wage slave.  That atttitude is a guaranteed way to fail in this business.


When I was in production I worked at least 60 hours a week--and often more than that as a member of the management team.


Try being at the airport on the weekend so that you can be somewhere first thing Monday morning--try working all night on the defense of a goofy claim--try working on Saturday's trying to hammer out a "diversity" policy with some nut telling you that if we don't give second chances on Series 7 to certain people we'll be sued for millions of dollars.


If you're asked to do something without being paid for it.....blah, blah, blah.

Aug 17, 2006 6:05 pm

Having read the thread here, I think I should set the record straight.  Our California law firm is one of the firms handling some of these cases.  Believe me when I tell you that our goals here are only to get brokers paid for the long hours we know they work.  It's really that simple.  Of the scores of class actions (mostly outside of the financial services industry, since few of these broker cases have been filed thus far) we have prosecuted, class members that are part of those settlements oftentimes receive well in excess of a few thousand dollars and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, so these cases are extremely rewarding for them (and without any work other than submitting a one page claim form).  Getting such a check without even knowing their employers were cheating them is a nice surprise.


Moreover, the law is very clear about overtime pay in the financial services industry, far clearer than in most other industries and, as such, these cases sometimes settle relatively quickly.  It may seem like a hassle to punch a time clock, but let's be serious; how much work is punching a time clock when you're then able to collect your overtime pay plus your commissions?  The opposition to the concept of getting overtime pay is the result of years of brainwashing by employers that it is more prestigious not to get paid for all your long hours.  It's a "bill of goods" employers have sold to their workers for decades and it has got to stop.  Don't buy into such a self-serving concept.  You worked the hours; you should get fully paid for them.


I am happy to talk to anyone interested in learning more about these cases or discussing their company's practices.  We're located on the web at www.scalaw.com or at (510) 891-9800


-Scott Cole, Esq.  ([email protected])


Aug 17, 2006 6:10 pm

It's amazing that an adult is so willing to parade himself as a whore.


I hope that the monitors will strike this guy's advertisment.


The unintended consequence of what he and those of his ilk are doing is to make it impossible for rookie brokers to work hard--and in so doing ensure their failure.


He is no friend of yours.

Aug 17, 2006 6:12 pm

There is no surer way to ruin your career than to join one of this guy's class actions--you paint a big target on your back and may even ruin your U-4.  I know that if you left my firm I"d indicate on your U-5 that you were fired for cause.


Try getting another job in the industry with that going for you.

Aug 17, 2006 6:13 pm

I always thought the idea of a commission-paid career was to pay based on performance, not how many hours are worked.  Maybe I'm too far out of the loop.

Aug 17, 2006 6:26 pm
BrokerRecruit:

I always thought the idea of a commission-paid career was to pay based on performance, not how many hours are worked.  Maybe I'm too far out of the loop.


Nah, it's just that these class action shysters are shaking down the industry these days.


What is going to happen is rookies are going to be locked out of their offices after 5 PM and before 8 AM, and all day on the weekends.


The only people who will have a chance of succeeding are those who are born with silver spoons in their mouths.


It never fails to amaze me that people like this Coles guy don't have more class.

Aug 17, 2006 6:29 pm

An alternative unintended consequence is to get the rookie to sign a statement that says he understands that he is expected to work 60 hours per week.


That signature can then be used to fire him if he doesn't.


Every broker in the country should tell these whores to crawl back under their rocks.


Too many law schools graduating too many underqualified lawyers--so the bottom of the class opens up a one man shop, calls it "Joe Blow & Associates" and goes about looking for a class action suit to file.


If you ever met one you can see that dull look of stupidity in their eyes.

Aug 17, 2006 6:45 pm

I just read, with great interest, the posts by NASD Newbie.



Newbie:  Why the aggression toward us or what we're trying to do for you and why such distrust?  Are you actually a broker or part of some firm's management just watching this board?  What possible reason would you have to be offended by the fact that people are out here actually trying to change a corrupt system, particularly when it benefits you and your co-workers?


You can be as personally offensive as you wish and call us "whores" (although you don't even know us) but don't dissuade others who actually want legal help from seeking it; employers have done that for years and some of us are getting really tired of it.

Aug 17, 2006 6:49 pm

I have met dozens of members of the plaintiff's bar--not one of which would I consider having a drink with.


You are no more trying to help solve a corrupt system than you are trying to fly--you have no skills so you file nonsensical lawsuits hoping to shake down an employer.


The result of what you're doing is going to be that rookie brokers will be locked out of their offices after 5 PM and before 8 AM--and their ability to work hard will be gone.


You are no more valueable to our society than a worm or cockroach.

Aug 17, 2006 6:51 pm

I should mention as well, that the scenario about being "locked out" of your office is quite unrealistic.  The goal of these cases is to alow you to keep your commissions, but ALSO get you overtime pay.  Why would naturally assume the company is being completely open with you and that anyone challanging them is "dirty?"  These are seasoned brokers filing these cases who are standing up for what's right, not gold-diggers looking for "get-rich-quick" schemes.


I can't believe you actually think the way you say you do.  I'm sure you're just having fun at our expense.  Whether I'm right or not, we're sorry to have upset you so by representing some of these clients.