Bankwitz v. Ecolab Inc. – Territory Manager Overtime Lawsuit
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Last updated: March 23, 2020 at 22:08 pm
The Court compelled the plaintiffs into individual arbitrations. Our firm has filed approximately 70 individual Territory Manager arbitrations against Ecolab. Meanwhile, the two lead plaintiffs — Bankwitz and Jacobo — have prevailed on their claims for unpaid overtime under California law. They will soon return to the Court to continue with their claims for civil penalties against Ecolab. Ecolab has also re-named the Territory Manager position and is now treating the position as overtime non-exempt.
In the meantime, if you are a former Territory Manager who would like to recoup any unpaid overtime owed against Ecolab, contact our office for information about your rights. Call us at (805) 303-8115.
Description of the Action
The above-entitled action was been brought by former Ecolab Inc. employees, Robert Bankwitz, William Jacobo, and Joshua Hernandez, who all are or were Territory Managers for Ecolab in California. Plaintiffs contended that Ecolab Inc. misclassified them and the class of territory managers as “exempt” from overtime and, consequently, failed to pay them and the class overtime wages.
Plaintiffs sought to represent all Territory Managers and Hospitality Territory Managers in a class action to recover wages and/or penalties for the following violations of law:
- Failure to pay overtime and doubletime wages
- Pay stub violations
- Unfair competition
- Failure to timely pay final wages
- Failure to pay minimum wages
- Failure to provide legally compliant rest periods
Plaintiffs Plaintiffs also sought civil penalties against Ecolab pursuant to the California Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”). A so-called “PAGA Action” is not a class action. Each violation of the Labor Code can give rise to a claim for PAGA penalties, but 75 percent of the penalties recovered are given to the State of California, with the remaining 25 percent distributed amongst the aggrieved employees.
This lawsuit is a continuation of Martino v. Ecolab, Inc. Information about the Martino case can be found here: action for overtime for Ecolab territory managers.
Status of the Lawsuit and the Class
Plaintiffs filed their complaint on May 22, 2017. The Court later enforced arbitration agreements entered into by and between the Plaintiffs and Ecolab. The arbitration agreements prohibited class actions, so, in compelling arbitration, the Court struck the class allegations. PAGA claims cannot be forced into arbitration, so the Court did not strike Plaintiffs’ PAGA claims for penalties for Ecolab’s violations of the California Labor Code.
Plaintiffs Bankwitz and Jacobo proceeded to file individual arbitrations against Ecolab. Roughly 68 other Territory Managers or Hospitality Territory Managers also filed individual arbitrations. Plaintiffs Bankwitz and Jacobo have won on their primary claims for unpaid overtime. They have moved to have their arbitration decisions confirmed by the Court.
Once their cases are back in with the Court, their PAGA case will proceed again.
Meanwhile, as of the date of this update, two other Ecolab Territory Manager arbitrations have been held, with the decisions waiting to be rendered by the arbitrator. Dozens more are scheduled to take place in the next year or more.
Information Regarding the Case
This case is currently being litigated in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California as case number 3:17-cv-02924-MEJ before the Honorable Edward M. Chen.
The individual arbitrations are being administrated by the American Arbitration association.
If you need information about the Bankwitz case or are considering filing your own Territory Manager arbitration against Ecolab, please contact us at (805) 303-8115 or use the contact form to the right.
Important Case Documents
Second Amended Complaint
For more information, contact us at (805) 303-8115.
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