Employees of a Rochester communications company who were designated “writers” but denied they performed the sort of creative work that would exempt them from overtime have persuaded a Western District judge to certify a class action against their employer.

Judge Charles Siragusa (See Profile) last week directed CGI Communications Inc., one of the top growth companies upstate, to promptly provide the plaintiffs’ counsel with contact information on potential class members and ordered the firm to conspicuously post notice of the case at all its offices.

Tornatore v. CGI Communications, 14-cv-6049, arose out of allegations that the company hired young college graduates with little experience or training, then denied them overtime on the theory that the nature of their work exempted them from certain pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

According to a complaint filed by Michael Burger of Santiago Burger Annechino in Rochester, the employees were often given the title of “writer,” but the actual duties consisted of communicating with customers, proof writing and editing scripts and other tasks that did not require the sort of talent to qualify for an artistic/creative endeavor exemption from the FLSA overtime provisions.

CGI, represented by Edward Hourihan Jr. and Katherine McClung of Bond Schoeneck & King in Rochester, denies the allegations.