Foreclosed-Home Caretakers Sue BofA Affiliate

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – A Bank of America subsidiary cheats workers of overtime and regular wages after hiring them to maintain foreclosed homes, a class action claims in Superior Court.
     Lead plaintiff Chris Weseman sued BAC Field Services Corp., alleging Labor Code violations and unfair competition.
     “BAC operates as a subsidiary of Bank of America, providing maintenance an preservation services for Bank of America’s foreclosed properties,” the complaint states.
     Bank of America, however, is not a party to the complaint.
     “BAC subcontracts the hiring process and job placement functions to other hiring agents as part of the scheme to attempt to circumvent responsibility for protections afforded to employees under federal and California law,” the complaint states.
     Weseman claims that BAC misclassifies its employees as independent contractors to duck the Labor Code. BAC laborers mow lawns, board up windows, change locks, clean, and take pictures of foreclosed properties, and work 40 hours a week or more for a flat rate, according to the complaint.
     BAC also ducks Social Security payments, taxes, unemployment insurance and workers compensation insurance by misclassifying its workers, Weseman says.
     “After deducting all business related expenses, including but not limited to tax payments, from the payments made by BAC to plaintiff and the class members, the plaintiff and class members as employees of BAC earn less than the minimum wage for all hours on the job, causing BAC to be liable for this additional payment,” according to the 37-page complaint.
     Weseman says that BAC paid a “‘trip charge'” to workers if they could not complete work at foreclosed properties that were not yet vacant.
     “This ‘trip charge’ did not include any of the time spent driving to the foreclosed property, performing any tasks necessary to determine whether the property was in fact occupied, taking pictures of the property and uploading the pictures upon returning home to send to BAC,” the complaint states.
     Weseman claims he did manual labor for BAC from late 2010 until this year. He claims he worked more than 40 hours a week but was not paid overtime, worked more than 5 hours at time without meal or rest breaks, and had to pay for new door locks out of his wages.
     “As a result of defendant’s misclassification of plaintiff as an independent contractor, plaintiff was not compensated by defendant for his regular and overtime hours worked at the applicable regular and overtime rates,” the complaint states.
     Weseman seeks wages due, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and damages for Labor Code violations. He is represented by Norman Blumenthal, with Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.
     Bank of America did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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