employment attorney looking at class action

Former Loan Officers File Class Action in Cook County

By Pasha Vaziri
Attorney At Law

An employee who decides to file suit against his or her employer is rarely the only person at the company being treated poorly. There is often a corrupt culture that is impacting a large portion of the workforce. 

Rather than seeking justice one by one, it is sometimes possible for aggrieved workers to band together and file a class action. This is happening right now in a Cook County courtroom. 

Michael Blake, a former loan officer at Celebrity Home Loans and its parent company Celebrity Financial, Inc., has filed a class action complaint claiming the companies violated a number of labor laws. 

Alleged Employment Law Violations 

According to the lawsuit, filed by Blake on behalf of himself and hundreds of other employees, Celebrity laid off 92 percent of its workforce without proper notice and without paying them as legally required. 

The suit alleges that the company abruptly terminated hundreds of its employees without giving the legally required 60-day advance notice as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act). 

In addition, Blake claims the companies failed to timely pay wages, commissions, and financial compensation in violation of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act. Blake says he and others received a base salary but also earned commissions on the loans they closed. Those wages and commissions were allegedly not paid, and neither were accrued paid time off and vacation days. 

The lawsuit says that Celebrity told a potential business partner and its terminated employees that the employees were being let go due to unanticipated events. But the suit claims the company and its executive officers knew well before sending the separation letters that it was likely they would have to let some employees go. 

Fighting for Employee Rights 

Unfortunately, this sort of alleged wage theft and potential violations of state and federal employment law is not uncommon. Many companies, especially those in dire financial straits, treat their employees poorly. They count on most employees shrugging off what happened to them and assuming that there is nothing that can be done to make things right. 

What is unusual about this case is that an ex-employee is standing up for his rights. And he’s trying to get justice for his fellow workers as well by bringing his complaints as a class action. 

A class action is a lawsuit where similar individual claims are grouped together for efficiency’s sake. It is a better use of judicial resources to address the wrongs suffered by an entire group of people at once rather than attempting to pursue claims on an individual basis. Banding together also gives potential plaintiffs who might otherwise be unwilling or unable to invest the time and money it takes to seek justice, a way to have their voices heard.

Fueled by Passion. Built on Trust. 

Our firm is known for the work it does on behalf of Chicago-area employees — like those at Celebrity — whose employers have violated federal and Illinois labor laws. We foresee a growing number of situations where upset employees could band together and bring their claims as a class action. We are ready to discuss this legal tactic with any Chicago area employees who are suffering at the hand of unscrupulous employers. Contact Vaziri Law LLC today to share your story and find out what your options are.

About the Author
Attorney Pasha Vaziri received his Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago and focuses on personal injury and insurance law cases for clients in the Chicago area. Pasha founded Vaziri Law LLC in 2014 with a focus on the following practice areas: business litigation, class and collective actions, employment litigation, and injury litigation. As an attorney, he strives to achieve your objectives as efficiently as possible. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Mr. Vaziri through our contact page.