The Department of Labor may not be the most hospitable place for employers these days. Federal juries, however, can prove to be just the opposite. Nearly a year ago, the DOL issued a game-changing Administrator’s Interpretation that mortgage loan officers are not exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Last Thursday, a federal jury concluded that a class of 350 specific mortgage loan officers employed by Quicken Loans are exempt administrative employees under the FLSA.
Here’s the jury’s verdict form:
What does this mean?
- The jury’s conclusion that the mortgage brokers are exempt is the complete opposite of the DOL’s conclusion in its March 2010 Administrator’s Interpretation. In other words, while employers should be wary of what the DOL is doing in this area, its words is not the gospel.
- Even though the jury concluded the plaintiffs were exempt, they took the time to fill in an unnecessary “0” on the line asking how many average hours the plaintiffs worked in a week. In other words, the jury simply did not believe the plaintiffs’ story. While lawyers are trained on the law, cases are won and lost on their facts.
The Detroit Free Press quotes Quicken Loans founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert, “It was never about money for us. It was always about right and wrong.” Crains Detroit Business estimates that the defense verdict saved Quicken Loans between $4 million and $30 million in damages for unpaid overtime. Sometimes, it absolutely pays to fight these battles.