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June 15, 2011 6:21 PM

Former Schulte Roth Tech Support Employee Files Overtime Lawsuit

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

A former technical support employee of Schulte Roth & Zabel has filed a class action lawsuit alleging that the firm denied him and other employees proper overtime compensation required by federal wage and hour laws.

The suit was filed on Monday in U.S. district court in Manhattan on behalf of Keith McKenzie, a former desktop support technician who worked in Schulte Roth's Manhattan office from April 2001 to April 2010, according to the lawsuit. (Click here to download the complaint.)

The putative class consists of McKenzie and any of Schulte's current or former desktop support technicians who were employed at any point in the three-year period before the date the suit was filed and who did not receive overtime pay when working more than 40 hours in a week. (The suit claims that the firm employed seven other technicians--who, it says, provide technological support to the firm's employees--during that time.) The complaint states that the firm failed to pay overtime premiums "for all hours worked over 40 in a given week."

"We believe that Mr. McKenzie's claims are without merit and we will respond in due course in the court proceeding," Gary Fiebert, Schulte Roth's executive director, said in a statement to The Am Law Daily.

According to McKenzie's suit, Schulte Roth authorized a policy that gave all desktop support technicians compensatory time off instead of overtime pay when those employees exceeded 40 hours of work in a given week. McKenzie--represented by Christopher Davis and Robert Ottinger of The Ottinger Firm in New York--alleges that the firm willfully violated the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act by refusing to pay overtime premiums, and by failing to keep accurate records that reflect the hours McKenzie and the collective class worked. 

"Our client has informed us that [Schulte Roth has] applied an unlawful practice of substituting compensatory time for overtime wages, and that's illegal," Davis says. "We've investigated the allegations and we're extremely confident that we'll be able to prove that this practice was taking place."

The lawsuit seeks relief for McKenzie and any other plaintiffs that would include an award for unpaid wages owed (with interest and penalties), as well as attorneys' fees.

Schulte Roth is a roughly 400-lawyer firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and London.

In April we reported that Dewey & LeBoeuf, along with staffing firm Robert Half International, Inc., had been accused by a network operations specialist of failure to pay overtime. That suit also was filed in federal district court in Manhattan, on March 30, with attorneys from New York employment firm Samuel & Stein representing IT worker Charlemagne Dumay. 

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