A federal jury ruled late Wednesday that Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), which recently merged with Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services to form DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC), wrongly and willfully denied overtime pay to approximately 1,000 current and former technology support workers around the country. After deliberating over two days, the Connecticut jury unanimously rejected CSC’s claim that its System Administrators in the “Associate Professional” and “Professional” job titles are exempt under federal, Connecticut and California law, ruling instead that the workers should have been classified as nonexempt and paid overtime. The jury found CSC’s violations to be willful, triggering additional damages. The misclassifications were made despite the fact that, in 2005, CSC paid $24 million to settle similar claims from a previous group of technical support workers.
“These System Administrators’ hard work for CSC and its clients is a significant driver of CSC’s profits and success, and they deserve to be fairly compensated,” said co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel Todd Jackson of Feinberg, Jackson, Worthman & Wasow LLP.
Co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel Jahan C. Sagafi of Outten & Golden LLP added, “We’re thankful that the jury took such care in listening to and weighing a massive amount of evidence, appropriately finding that the employees deserve overtime pay.”
Until earlier this year, CSC was an American multinational corporation that routinely ranked among the leading IT service providers in the world. On April 3, the company merged with the Enterprise Services business of Hewlett Packard Enterprise to form DXC Technology, based in Tysons, Virginia. The company claims to be the world’s leading independent, end-to-end IT services company.
The approximately 1,000 plaintiffs represented in this class action are System Administrators who are salaried employees of CSC. They provide to CSC clients IT support including routine installation and maintenance of computer hardware and software, server maintenance and troubleshooting. Co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel Daniel Hutchinson of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein LLP explained, “Because the System Administrators do not make policy, design the systems or do computer programming, they fall within the protections of federal and state overtime laws.”
The System Administrators have all worked over forty hours per week at least once without receiving overtime compensation as required by federal and state law. In addition, they are often assigned to be “on call” to handle troubleshooting tickets and other nonexempt tasks to assist clients 24/7/365.
“The Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state laws exist to make sure companies don’t use fancy titles to deny workers fair pay and reasonable hours so that they can spend time with their families,” said co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel Genevieve Casey of Feinberg Jackson Worthman & Wasow. “Without these protections, companies would be incentivized to overwork the very ground-level employees that these laws are designed to protect.”
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) dictates federal overtime protections. Unless exempt, employees covered by the Act must receive at least time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Over the course of the two-week trial, CSC claimed four distinct types of exemptions – administrative, computer professional, learned professional and a combination exemption – and the jury unanimously rejected all of them.
The case, Joseph Strauch et al. v. Computer Sciences Corporation, No. 3:14-cv-00956, was filed in 2014 in United States District Court in Connecticut. Judge Janet Bond Arterton granted class certification in June of this year, and the trial began on December 7. The case will next proceed to a damages phase, where the court will determine how much CSC owes each class member.
The workers are represented by Todd Jackson, Genevieve Casey and Darin Ranahan of Feinberg Jackson Worthman & Wasow LLP, Jahan C. Sagafi, Darnley S. Stewart, Michael J. Scimone, Michael N. Litrownik, Elizabeth V. Stork and Jared Goldman of Outten & Golden LLP, Kelly M. Dermody, Daniel M. Hutchinson, Lin Y. Chan and Shira Tevah of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Karen Baldwin Kravetz of Susman, Duffy & Segaloff, PC.
More information about the case can be found at www.csclawsuit.com.