Penns Valley

Former Meridian Bank worker seeking back pay, penalties in lawsuit

A Spring Mills woman has taken her former employer to federal court, seeking thousands of dollars of back unpaid overtime, vacation time and penalties.

Danielle Edwards worked as a mortgage originator, a salesperson who meets with potential borrowers to discuss product options and takes mortgage applications, at the Meridian Bank, 136 S. Pennsylvania Ave., in Centre Hall. In a May court filing, Edwards claims she routinely worked in excess of 50 hours a week without overtime compensation for the almost three years she worked at the bank before her termination in March.

Edwards maintains in the filing that the bank treated her as an “exempt” employee, or one not entitled to overtime pay, under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and also instructed her not to record her time. Her attorney, Joseph Korsak, said that the bank is in violation of that law because mortgage originators are actually non-exempt employees and should be paid accordingly.

“In her case, since 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a directive that said these people are not admin or executive level employees, which means they have to be paid overtime for anything over 40 hours a week,” Korsak said.

Korsak also wrote in the filing that the bank is also in violation of state laws that mandate overtime pay for work over 40 hours a week.

Edwards is asking to be awarded $43,146, equal to 136 weeks worth of 10 hours of time and a half in unpaid overtime. She is also asking the court for $1,057 for 50 hours of unpaid vacation time she had at the time she left the bank, plus a 25 percent statutory penalty for overdue wages under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Act. The penalty for the overdue payments is valued at $11,050.87, according to the filing.

Christopher Annas, the CEO and chairman of the Malvern-based financial corporation, is listed as a co-defendant in the suit. Representatives from the bank’s corporate headquarters and their attorney, Kenneth Kleinman, did not respond to requests for comment.