Northern District of California Issues a Must-Read Opinion Holding That Fluctuating Workweek Method of Overtime Compensation Cannot Be Applied Retroactively in an Flsa Misclassification Case

On November 17, 2009, Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of California issued an extraordinarily thoughtful opinion in a case involving the overtime rights of bank employees. Judge Wilken explained that employers who misclassify employees as exempt from overtime cannot retroactively use the dreaded Fluctuating Workweek Method (“FWM”) of overtime compensation to calculate overtime damages. After summarizing the legal landscape in great detail, the Judge explained that it is impossible for the employer to retroactively satisfy the FWM’s prerequisites when, in fact, it never paid overtime to the misclassified employees in the first place. The case is published in Freedman v. Wells Fargo & Co., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107044 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 17, 2009), and it is a must-read for any trial lawyer litigating FLSA misclassification cases.

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