IT major Wipro is faced with a class-action lawsuit in the US from one of its former employees, an Indian national, who has alleged that the company did not pay his wages for overtime services, which was in violation of labour laws.
The lawsuit, filed by Suri Payala in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, alleges that many of its employees were citizens of foreign countries who come to the US under L-1B visas processed by Wipro and were not aware of their rights under California’s wage and hour laws.
The lawsuit alleges, “Wipro intentionally misclassifies employees who provide computer support, troubleshooting, testing related to repairs and technical services as exempt from overtime pay. However, according to California statutes, such employees are not exempt if they earn less than an annual salary of $84,130 as of January 2014.”
Payala claims that for the first six months of 2014, he was employed by Wipro as a computer technician with the title of ‘architect’ and was outsourced to DirecTV in California. The lawsuit says he was not paid for his overtime services and travel time to the outsourced job site despite earning a salary of less than $7,000 per month, which is in violation of state wage and hour laws.
The class-action lawsuit seeks to represent any employee — providing computer support, troubleshooting, testing related to repairs and technical services over the past four years prior to the filing on March 30 — who received compensation less than $7,000 per month and who was categorised as an exempt employee.
The lawsuit alleges various illegalities, including unlawful failure to pay overtime and double-time wages and violation of California’s Unfair Competition Act, and finally, failure to pay all wages due at separation. The lawsuit states, “Wipro’s business model is extremely profitable, in no small part because it does not pay its employees overtime for work in excess of 40 hours per week as required by the California law.”
In response to a query from FE on these developments, a statement by Wipro said, “Wipro abides by the laws of every jurisdiction where we do business. While we do not comment on pending litigation, suffice it to say Wipro will vigorously defend these allegations.”