$4.85M Settlement for Sprint Workers Gets First OK

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By David McAfee

Feb. 25 — A federal judge in California granted preliminary approval of a $4.85 million settlement between communications giant Sprint Corp. and thousands of current and former nonexempt employees in California who said they were not properly paid for all hours worked and didn't receive required rest and meal periods.

Judge Troy L. Nunley of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California gave tentative approval to the settlement, under which Sprint and its subsidiaries agreed to pay approximately 5,021 workers $4.85 million while denying all wrongdoing. Attorneys for named plaintiff Viet Bui sought preliminary approval in May 2015, according to court documents.

If finally approved, the settlement would bring an end to the years-long lawsuit challenging Sprint’s wage and hour policies in its California retail facilities. The 5,021 class members include California Sprint employees who served as store hosts, retail consultants, assistant store managers or managers.

In a complaint removed to federal court in October 2014 and amended twice since then, Bui and fellow named plaintiff Christina Avalos-Reyes alleged that Sprint had a “consistent policy and practice” of wage theft. The company was further accused of mailing employees’ final checks from out of state to retain the money longer, which the plaintiffs called “another avenue to raise the bottom line.”

In requesting preliminary approval of the $4.85 million settlement, counsel for the plaintiffs said the deal was reached “as a balance between the Defendants’ desire to avoid protracted litigation and the possibility of liability for segments of the putative class.”

For More Information

For more information, see Compensation and Benefits Library’s Fair Labor Standards Act: General Principles chapter.

To contact the reporter on this story: David McAfee in Los Angeles at dmcafee@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan McGolrick at smcgolrick@bna.com