By Purva Patel Business Writer Posted August 22 2003 Some local employees of credit reporting agency Equifax Inc. are seeking class action certification of a lawsuit complaining of unpaid overtime wages. A group of 60 current and former employees of Equifax's Boca Raton e-marketing division claim the company has failed to pay overtime since June 2000, and about 14 others have inquired about joining the suit, attorney Charles Bechert III said. Bechert wouldn't say exactly how much overtime pay was outstanding, but he said employees worked about 15 to 20 extra hours a week for periods ranging from four months to three years. The suit will likely be settled before it goes to trial, he added. "We're trying to negotiate it," he said. "Our goal is to get our clients the maximum recovery available." While the complaint focuses on overtime pay, attorneys are also investigating employee allegations of unpaid commissions, questionable sales, and other wrongdoings, Bechert said. Equifax spokesman Mitch Haws said the Atlanta-based company has a policy of not commenting on ongoing litigation. Equifax has been laying off employees in positions from sales to technology at the Boca Raton office for the past few weeks, Haws said, though he declined to say exactly how many. "There may be more in the future depending on the industry," Haws said. "They've got some unique assets, and we'll continue to use that in our overall marketing effort." The company's revenues were negatively impacted by losses in its e-marketing business during the second quarter of 2003, according to a company press release issued last month. Equifax bought permission-based e-mail marketing business Naviant a year ago for $135 million when the company employed about 160 people in Boca Raton. At the time, Naviant said it had compiled a database of more than 100 million e-mail addresses. E-mail marketers in general are seeing fewer people actually open and click on advertisements in e-mails, driving down demand for e-mail marketing data, said Michael Weinsoff, president of Internet Advertising Group in Coral Springs. Web users are clicking more on banners, he added. Web-based e-mail and Internet service providers have also been weeding out many of the ads, lowering the chances that someone will see them. Purva Patel can be reached at email@example.com or 954-356-4667.