Bank of America Employees Say Bank Stole $100 Million from Paychecks

You know, it really must be true what they say.  It must begin innocently enough.

First, perhaps it’s a small charge for a car rental discount plan the customer already canceled.  Then, maybe it’s an overdraft fee here and there.  After that you just boost the APR a point higher on a credit card… after all, who’s going to know.

Then, why not deduct a few hundred each in management fees from the IRAs or 529 plans.  How about extra fees hidden in the small print of business checking accounts?  Heck, even if someone catches it, it’s too hard to move a business account anyway.  And junk fees on mortgages?  Sure, load ‘em up… why not?

Before you know it, what started out innocently enough as just trying to pick up a few extra bucks to cover the company picnic, or maybe painting new lines in the parking lot, and before you know it, someone is asking you where you spent the $40 billion in TARP funds, and you’re dodging calls from reporters at The New York Times.

But, by now the excitement is just too much… you just have to be stealing and screwing someone in order to feel normal.  You look around for virgin ground… customers… no, nothing more you can do to them… already stole most of their houses.  And then it dawns on you… the employees… you haven’t tapped the employees yet.  Yeah, that’s the ticket… how can you steal from the employees.  And start at the bottom, where they’ll be scared to even bring it up.  Then move upward to the branch managers… ooohhh… this is getting exciting, don’t you think?

Well, today Bank of America employees in Kansas City, Los Angeles, Charlotte and other cities around the country have filed a lawsuit alleging that our nation’s largest bank cheated its employees out of $100 million in overtime pay.  The bank never wanted anyone looking too closely at how much they pay their top executives, but now they also don’t want us looking at what they pay their hourly workers either.

According to the Kansas City Star:

“Tellers, customer service managers, and call center workers at branches across the country allege they were ordered to work extra hours without pay, cheated out of overtime compensation, and regularly forced to work through lunch breaks. In short, bank employees in Kansas City, Los Angeles, Charlotte, and other cities claim the bank was padding its bottom line by stealing money from their paychecks, to the tune of $100 million.”

And, Bank of America’s white-collar workers say they face the same things, “from doctored time cards to stolen lunch breaks.”

Plaintiff’s attorney George Hanson, quoted in the Kansas City Star, aptly sums up the situation:

“The cases are reflective of what’s happening in the labor market. People’s wages are being chiseled but they’re afraid to complain because of fear of losing their jobs. It’s become par for the course for large employers, with a more-or-less captive employee base, to find ways to cut payroll corners.”

The KC Star noted that the stealing is likely to be contagious: “If large companies illegally skimp on wages, smaller firms will find it hard to compete without similarly shortchanging their workforce. It’s a recipe for a race to the bottom.”

See, my mother was right again.  It all must start innocently when they’re young banksters.  One minute your watering down the lemonade you’re selling for 20¢, and telling people you don’t have change for a quarter.

Next thing you know you’re bilking homeowners out of billions in trial payments, and can’t seem to remember where the TARP funds went.

Ergo bibamus…

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