Cantor Fitzgerald Securities Inc. has agreed to pay $140,000 to settle claims from a technical support employee who said the company tried to force him and tech support colleagues to sign away their rights to overtime. The proposed settlement resolves a proposed collective and class action filed six months ago by a support employee who says he was owed $100,000 for overtime and was offered half in exchange for signing away his overtime rights – and that several other employees were encouraged to cut similar deals.
Puente, a voice support analyst in the offices of Cantor Fitzgerald and affiliates since 2008, filed the suit in July. He says his bosses knew that he and other nonmanagement staff in the information technology department had been misclassified as exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act and asked them to submit records of all overtime worked between 2008 and 2014. After Puente submitted evidence that he was owed $100,000 in back pay, however, the human resources department offered to pay him $51,000 for overtime work performed between 2012 and 2014. When asked why he wasn’t being paid for all six years’ worth of overtime, Puente alleges that Patricia Dreste, human resources director, couldn’t answer the question.
In September, the court sent the suit, which also names affiliate entities BGC Technology Markets LP, Espeed Markets LP and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, to the court’s mediation program. By December, the parties met in a mediation session, and by Jan. 6 had notified the court that they had reached a compact. During the negotiations, Cantor Fitzgerald had argued that Puente’s overtime didn’t exceed $70,000 and that he couldn’t recover damages because the company inadvertently, and not willfully, classified him as exempt.
Puente contended he was owed about $237,000 total from the company, including his original overtime number and damages, plus attorneys’ fees. What they ironed out was Puente’s lawyers would receive $40,000 of the $140,000 fund, with Puente getting the balance. The agreement has to clear final approval from the court. Puente is represented by Bradford D. Conover and Molly Smithsimon of Conover Law Offices. The suit is in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.