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UPS socked with $100M overtime lawsuit

ATLANTA — Shipping giant UPS is being accused of not paying overtime to account managers who go door-to-door making sales pitches to businesses.

Laura Meza, a Whittier, Calif., resident who has worked at UPS since it acquired her previous employer trucking company Overnite in 2005, claimed in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in San Diego that she has regularly worked 60 hours a week but was only paid a straight salary.

She said Atlanta-based UPS has misclassified her and other account managers as outside salespersons or administrative employees exempt from overtime pay.

Meza said she is on medical leave, partly because of the stress of the long hours.

The suit seeks a jury trial, more than $100 million in damages and the payment of attorneys' fees. As a class-action suit, it also seeks to represent other UPS employees who face the same situation as Meza.

UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said the company would need to see the lawsuit before commenting on the specifics, though she asserted that the company has a good working environment for employees.

"We're clear what the definition is and scope of an employee's work assignments are," Rosenberg said.

She couldn't say how many account managers there are at UPS, but she said that in the U.S. those employees are part of an overall sales force of more than 5,000 people.

UPS, which has 415,000 employees worldwide, pays overtime to its drivers and sorters consistent with their collective bargaining agreements with the company. Those employees are represented by a union.

Among the groups of employees that are not paid overtime are administrative employees, clerical employees and certain specialists, Rosenberg said.