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Jury Finds IT Co. Misclassified Workers As OT Exempt

Dec 21, 2017 / Media Coverage / Law360 — Christine Powell

A jury on Wednesday ruled in favor of current and former employees of information technology services company Computer Sciences Corp. who claimed in Connecticut federal court that they were misclassified as exempt from overtime compensation.

According to a minute entry, after two days of deliberation, the jury handed down a verdict “unanimously” for the employees, who alleged that CSC classified certain so-called system administrators as exempt from overtime pay under federal and state law, when in fact they should have been classified as non-exempt and paid overtime when they worked more than 40 hours per week.

A news release by the employees’ counsel said that the jury found CSC’s violations to be willful, which triggers additional damages. Damages have not yet been determined, but they will be during the next phase of the dispute.

In 2005, CSC — which recently merged with Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services and is now called DXC Technology — paid $24 million to settle a similar lawsuit, according to the release.

DXC Technology spokesman Rich Adamonis told Law360 in a brief statement Thursday that the company intends to appeal the jury’s verdict.

Meanwhile, Todd Jackson of Feinberg Jackson Worthman & Wasow LLP, co-lead counsel for the employees, said in a statement that “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.”

Jahan C. Sagafi of Outten & Golden LLP, also co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, 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.”

In 2015, U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton granted conditional certification of a Fair Labor Standards Act collective action consisting of all system administrators in the bottom two tiers of CSC’s five-tier system administrator hierarchy who earned less than $100,000 annually.

Then, this June, the judge granted certification to California and Connecticut sub-classes bringing state law claims, also consisting of system administrators in the bottom two tiers who earned less than $100,000 annually.

The system administrators provide support to clients, including installation and maintenance of computer hardware and software, in addition to server maintenance and troubleshooting, according to the release.

The named plaintiffs in the suit are Timothy Colby, Joseph Strauch, Vernon Carre and Charles Turner.

The employees are represented by Todd Jackson, Genevieve Casey and Darin Ranahan of Feinberg Jackson Worthman & Wasow LLP, Jahan C. Sagafi, Darnley D. Stewart, Michael J. Scimone, Michael N. Litrownik, Elizabeth V. Stork and Jared Goldman of Outten & Golden LLP, Daniel M. Hutchinson, Lin Y. Chan and Shira Tevah of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, and Karen B. Kravetz of Susman Duffy & Segaloff PC.

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The case is Strauch et al. v. Computer Sciences Corp., case number 3:14-cv-00956, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

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