SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ International Business Machines Corp. was sued in federal court Tuesday for allegedly not paying overtime to tens of thousands of rank-and-file employees.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of three current and former workers, and seeks class-action status to represent computer installers and maintenance workers for IBM throughout the United States.
``They were forced to work overtime without being paid in a manner that is required by the state and federal laws,'' attorney James Finberg said.
Lawyers said they are seeking millions of dollars of back pay for employees of the world's biggest technology services provider based in Armonk, N.Y. They are also considering punitive damages, and speculated that the practice was widespread in the technology industry.
Employees allege they were forced to work more than 40 hours a week, and were called in on weekends without getting overtime pay.
Generally, executives, manager and high-level computer operators are exempt from being paid overtime premiums, which is compensated at 90 minutes pay for each additional hour of work.
The suit seeks compensation for the past four years for affected current and former IBM workers in California, and three years back pay for those in other states. The IBM employees usually worked at an IBM clients' workplace, attorneys said.
The company did not immediately return calls for comment.
Lawyers who filed the suit settled a similar case against Computer Sciences Corp. for $24 million.