Technical writer Dani Hoenemier filed a lawsuit against the Sun micro systems, in Santa Clara county under the class action of state labor laws governing overtime and breaks. She says that sometimes she had to work more than 60 hours a week at her computer, at the time of product launch without any overtime pays.
Hoenemier’s attorney says that Sun’s technical writers may earn salaries of $100,000 a year, but they never get any overtime pay or working extra hours and that is why he is challenging the company’s practice of treating all the writers as exempt from the state labour laws governing overtime and breaks.
On listening that, Santa Clara County judge certified the legal challenge as a class action, which means that Hoenemier can pursue her lawsuit on behalf of all salaried technical writers who had worked for Sun since 2002, but she needs to find a second employee who can act as a plaintiff in the case.
On the other hand Sun argued on the court papers that the company writers are well-paid, professional employees. They are legally exempt from overtime rules because they are highly skilled, work independently and meet other criteria spelled out in the law.
Moreover Sun argued that many writers don’t want to be hourly workers as they don’t have any uniform duties, and so the case should not be under class action. They also said that Hoenemier was a disgruntled employee, who performed poorly and had to be supervised more closely than others and so Sun had told her to improve her performance after she complained about overtime.
Hoeniemier’s attorney, Aaron Kaufmann of Walnut Creek said that “If Sun loses then it could owe well more than $20 million in back-pay”.