California Hits ZipRealty with $17M Wage Suit

How much are real estate agents worth? Fast food employees make $8 an hour. Golf course range pickers make at least that much. And, according to a lawsuit filed by the California state labor commissioner, real estate agents working for firms should at least be paid the same amount, which is the minimum wage.

ZipRealty of Emeryville was hit with a lawsuit for allegedly working their agents too much for little to no pay and with no overtime, violating state law.

According to a story on the lawsuit from Inman News:

ZipRealty Inc. violated California labor law during a four-year period by failing to pay hundreds of real estate agents the state’s minimum wage of $8 an hour and premiums for overtime, the state’s labor commissioner alleges in a lawsuit seeking more than $17 million in back wages, damages and penalties.

ZipRealty agents often “worked six or seven days a week, far in excess of 40 hours in a week, and frequently in excess of eight hours a day,” the lawsuit alleges. But the agents “typically received no pay for a large majority of the pay periods they worked after 2005,” when the housing market tanked, the suit claims.

ZipRealty, for their part, is denying the allegations, but the precedent this could set is clear. Real estate agents in similar circumstances may finally have a chance to get back some of the money owed them by employers. Since the California Association of Realtors (CAR) and the big banks aren’t doing much to help agents, real estate professionals should stand together and be heard.

Have you worked for a real estate firm in the past few years? How much do you think you might be owed for all your long hours of work? Will you try to get that money back?