HP shortchanged some of its IT services workers and will pay $11.8m (£7.2m) in wages and fines to settle a consolidated lawsuit in New York federal district court, according to published reports.
The legal site Law360 reports that HP agreed late last week to settle the suit brought by former employees of HP's Electronic Data Systems (EDS) subsidiary - a services unit now known as HP Enterprise Services - that claimed IT services and telecommunications employees were improperly denied overtime pay.
The settlement continues a legal drumbeat in favour of IT professionals which began in earnest in July 2007 when IBM doled out $65m to settle a class action suit by current and former technical support workers for IBM seeking unpaid overtime.
Plaintiffs at the time alleged that IBM illegally misclassified employees who install or maintain computer hardware or software as "exempt" from the overtime pay requirements of the federal Fair Labour Standards Act and related state labour laws.
Writing about the HP case, labour law specialist attorney Christopher Davis said employers of IT personnel should be getting the message by now, but many are not.
"If you are an IT professional and you aren't 'programming' in the traditional sense of the word, that is writing programs as opposed to drafting scripts to assist you with troubleshooting issues, you are likely eligible for overtime pay," Davis wrote.
"Based on my experience, most middle market and large corporations have an IT team which includes at least a handful of these non-exempt employees, and very few of them are 100 per cent in compliance with the federal and state overtime pay laws.
"Personally, practising in New York City, I have brought more overtime class actions on behalf of the above mentioned categories of IT professionals than any other type of professional across any industry,2 Davis said.
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