Lawsuit accuses Facebook of scheming to weasel out of paying overtime
Facebook is being hit with a proposed class-action federal lawsuit alleging that the social-networking company purposely misclassifies employees to exempt them from overtime pay.
The suit (PDF) was brought Friday by a former salaried client solutions manager from Facebook's office in Chicago. The woman, Susie Bigger, alleges that she and countless other Facebook workers are illegally classified as managers as part of "defendant’s scheme to deprive them of overtime compensation.”
The suit notes a "systematic, companywide wrongful classification" system for Client Solutions Managers, Customer Solutions Managers, Customer Account Managers, "or other similarly titled positions."
According to the lawsuit, the primary duties of these various classifications is nearly identical. Their duties "involve communicating with existing Facebook advertising customers, implementing their marketing plans, and selling Facebook marketing products and services to existing customers." The suit says a "large percentage" of their compensation comes from "commissions from the sale of Facebook's marketing products."
The suit claims these positions, called "CSMs", don't constitute management jobs. Management positions lawfully enable companies to withhold overtime pay, which is one and one-half times regular pay—after an employee works 40 hours in a week.
"CSMs do not perform duties related to the management or general business operations of Facebook. Rather, CSMs’ duties constitute the principal production activity of Facebook as a social media and marketing platform," according to the suit. "CSMs' primary duties do not involve the exercise of discretion or independent judgment with respect to matters of significance."
The suit seeks back pay, damages, interest, and attorneys fees for an untold number of Facebook employees.
Facebook said in an e-mail to Ars that "this lawsuit is without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously." Facebook reports earnings next week. It's expected to record earnings of $1.29 per share on $9.88 billion in revenue for the latest quarter.