GE Workers Make Overtime Claim

August 21, 2002 ( - General Electric has classified certain workers at its aircraft engine unit as salaried employees so it can wriggle out of paying them overtime and other benefits, but still treats them as hourly workers, a lawsuit charges.

According to the employee suit – the subject of a Wall Street Journal news report — the Evendale, Ohio-based GE unit deducted pay or vacation time from the workers for any work absences. The suit alleged was incompatible with them being considered as exempt workers.

The practice violates the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws, according to the lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

A GE spokesman denied any wrongdoing in comments to the WSJ.

The suit also alleges that employees are expected to work overtime hours but aren’t compensated for that labor, because of their classification as exempt workers.

In some cases, the suit claims, employees have been randomly selected to receive so-called planned overtime compensation, but are paid straight time, instead of 1 1/2 times their wage rate, according to the Journal story.

The suit seeks back pay and damages.