$5.7 million overtime compensation for ex-Cognizant staff

Some employees had alleged that the Company had underpaid them for overtime and filed a class action lawsuit.

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American multinational information technology giant, Cognizant, will be paying $5.7 million to compensate its former employees who had alleged that they had been underpaid for the hours they had worked as overtime.

Debi Mishra, who used to work for Cognizant, along with other employees of the quality engineering and assurance (QE&A) team, had filed a class action lawsuit alleging that the Company had not included certain amounts while calculating the remuneration for overtime.

According to reports, Mishra had been issued a letter stating that his terms and conditions of employment had changed, making him eligible for overtime. As per the letter, he was guaranteed a minimum of $62,100, with bonus being added to maintain his annual income at the said level.

However, what Mishra actually earned turned out to be way below what was promised. As per calculations of an expert, the Company owed all the employees a total of about $11,219,891.

Cognizant, on the other hand, responded by rejecting this calculation. It maintained that Mishra and the other employees who had complained, did not actually put in any overtime; that they only recorded extra work hours to earn a fast buck and ensure that their pay was uniformly spread.

The complaint was filed about three years back, in 2017. The parties were part of a private mediation in the presence of a retired judge, which was arranged in 2018. However, the matter remained unresolved.

The Company, which is headquartered in New Jersey, has now agreed to pay about 50 per cent of the estimated damages. The amount will be divided among the plaintiffs/class members.

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