Facebook is facing a class-action lawsuit for trying to avoid paying its workers overtime

Overworked and underpaid?
Overworked and underpaid?
Image: Reuters/Robert Galbraith
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A lawsuit filed in a U.S. district court in Illinois alleges that Facebook routinely and knowingly misclassified certain workers as not eligible for overtime compensation. Although it has to be approved by the court, it is proposed as a class action, filed by a former client solutions manager at the company.

Susie Bigger, the former “CSM,” as Facebook reportedly calls these positions, alleges that Facebook engaged in “systematic, companywide wrongful classification” of employees who had no managerial responsibilities or decision-making power as exempt from overtime requirements, thus depriving them of additional pay when they worked more than 40 hours a week. The lawsuit alleges the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as Illinois’ minimum wage laws. (h/t Ars Technica).

“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 lawsuit. They communicate with Facebook advertising customers, sell them marketing products, and implement their marketing plans, working partly on commission. The lawsuit alleges CSMs were given additional non-exempt duties after Facebook reorganized its sales teams in 2015, and that these employees routinely worked more than 40 hours a week.

It’s not clear how many employees were misclassified, although the lawsuit says there are about 200 workers who were “similarly situated,” and demands compensatory damages for owed pay including interest, as well as legal fees.

Facebook told Quartz in a statement that “this lawsuit is without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.” Bigger did not respond to a request for comment.

Facebook has faced challenges and complaints in the past over compensating its workers, from six-figure earners who still find it hard to thrive in Silicon Valley to contractors who barely make ends meet.