California hits ZipRealty with $17M wage suit

Brokerage says its agents were exempt from overtime requirements

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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.