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HSBC's $15.6M Deal OK'd In Workers' OT Suit

Law360—Beth Winegarner

A New York federal judge Tuesday granted preliminary approval to a $15.6 million settlement between HSBC Bank USA NA and almost 2,000 bankers, managers and specialists who claim the company adopted high-productivity requirements compelling employees to work overtime, but didn't compensate them for those hours.

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U.S. District Court Judge Paul Gardephe found that the proposed settlement is “within the range of possible final settlement approval,” his order said.

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"We are pleased with the settlement. We think it is a fair result for the class," Justin Swartz of Outten & Golden LLP, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told Law360 in November.

Sharon Yuzary sued HSBC in May, claiming the bank instituted high output requirements that prompted employees to work more than 40 hours per week, but did not pay overtime wages — a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York labor law.

Yuzary, who worked for HSBC as a premier relationship manager from July 2008 to March, said she often worked 50 to 55 hours per week, and said the company was aware of her work schedule, but failed to properly compensate her.

“Defendants did not keep accurate records of hours worked by plaintiff — plaintiff's hours are not recorded on her pay stubs, and she was never required to clock in or out, or otherwise record her time,” the complaint said.

Yuzary later added eight additional plaintiffs to her suit, and in October the nine named plaintiffs hit HSBC with a third amended complaint alleging California, Connecticut and New Jersey labor law violations in addition to the FLSA and New York labor law claims.

The suit also alleged that HSBC personal banking officers, business banking specialists and small-business specialists were also denied overtime wages. 

Upon final approval of the settlement, the plaintiffs will also seek a settlement for an FLSA class employed between May 9, 2009, and Nov. 15, 2012, court documents said.

The plaintiffs are represented by Outten & Golden LLP, Fitapelli & Schaffer LLP, Lee Litigation Group PLLC and Shavitz Law Group PA.

HSBC is represented by Paul Hastings LLP.

The case is Yuzary v. HSBC Bank USA NA et al., case number 1:12-cv-03693, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.