Medford brothers sue Sterling Bank over overtime pay

They say company illegally classified mortgage loan officers as exempt from overtime regulations

Medford brothers David and Micah DuBeau have filed suit in U.S. District Court against their former employer, Sterling Savings Bank, claiming the Spokane-based financial institution has systematically violated federal and state labor laws by denying overtime pay to mortgage loan officers and other mortgage origination employees.

The lawsuit alleges Sterling Savings Bank and Golf Savings Bank, which merged with Sterling in August of 2010, violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and Oregon wage and hour laws, and deliberately misclassified mortgage loan officers as exempt from overtime requirements.

The brothers allege they were denied earned wages, including overtime pay, along with other mortgage loan officers and mortgage origination employees. These employees were required to work substantially more than 40 hours per week without overtime pay and were illegally classified as ineligible for overtime pay, the suit says.

The banks also are accused of deducting from employee wages the banks' costs of conducting business including credit report fees, appraisal fees, and other fees and items.

The DuBeaus went to work for Golf Savings Bank in April of 2010, according to court documents and left Sterling last May. They are still involved in the mortgage industry, working at Eagle Home Mortgage.

Contacted by phone Monday morning, David DuBeau said he would have to consult with his lawyer before commenting. He was an unsuccessful school board candidate in 2011. Micah DuBeau did not immediately respond to a telephone message on his work phone.

The DuBeaus have hired Rowdy B. Meeks of the Rowdy Meeks Legal Group of Kansas City, Mo., and Derek C. Johnson and Jennifer Middleton of Johnson Johnson Larson & Schaller of Eugene.

The law firms said today they are seeking to have the lawsuit certified as a class and collective action to recover unpaid overtime wages, the illegal wage deductions, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees and other litigation costs for overtime-eligible mortgage loan officers who have worked for the banks in Oregon during the past six years.

"FLSA violations have been pervasive throughout the mortgage industry," Meeks said, adding, "(We) hope this case and others will convince the mortgage banking industry to comply with labor laws."

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Mark D. Clarke.

A Sterling spokeswoman declined to comment.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.


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