The lawsuit claims that Cadence Design Systems, Inc.:
• gave hundreds of its employees fancy titles;
• called them exempt from national and California overtime laws, as well federal and out-of-state overtime laws;
• pocketed the revenues that should have been paid out in overtime.
San Francisco's dBusinessNews reported that the suit was filed on behalf of current and former Cadence Systems Engineers. The proposed class includes hundreds of systems administrators, network technicians, helpdesk support workers and other technical staff who are based in Cadence's California offices in San Jose, San Diego, Irvine, Berkeley and Napa, as well as in Massachusetts, Texas and Utah.
"Hundreds of Cadence technical support workers put in long hours to support the company's computer systems and help Cadence bring in $1.5 billion in revenues," said plaintiff's attorney Kelly M. Dermody
Here's what 45-year-old plaintiff Ahmed Higazi, a tech support worker for Cadence for five years, had to say: "I was often required to work in excess of 40 hours a week—but I did not receive overtime pay. What they did to me and other tech support workers was simply unfair. I worked hard for the company, and was not compensated for all the hours I put in for Cadence."
Higazi was responsible for installing, maintaining, and supporting computer software and hardware for the company. He left Cadence in 2004 and now works at another technology service company.
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Says Finberg: "A corporation cannot avoid paying overtime wages simply by providing a fancy sounding title to workers who are entitled to overtime pay under the law."
The lawsuit asks the federal court to issue an injunction requiring Cadence to pay overtime wages to eligible employees as well as compensation and damages to all current and former employees who were denied overtime, both in California and elsewhere.
The lawsuit is one of the many class actions filed in California and elsewhere in the U.S. claiming that misclassification of workers is a common tactic of employers trying to avoid paying overtime wages. More and more workers are consulting lawyers to find out their rights and to see what can be done to get some compensation.