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March 11 — CVS Pharmacy Inc. will pay $2.35 million to settle claims by 720 pharmacists in California who say they weren't paid overtime as required by state law when they worked more than six consecutive days, according to a settlement agreement that received final court approval March 10.
None of the class members objected to the settlement, and only four opted out, Judge Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said. This positive reaction from class members counsels in favor of court approval, he said.
CVS contended overtime isn't required when the consecutive days span more than one workweek. “The law on that point is somewhat unsettled,” Aidan McGlaze, an attorney for the pharmacists, told Bloomberg BNA March 11. The California labor code has rules that limit the number of consecutive days pharmacists may work because “you don't want them fatigued or overworked,” McGlaze said.
“California labor code has special protections for pharmacists, and those protections are going to be enforced,” he said. “Employers would do well to heed them.”
Gary Serby, director of corporate communications for CVS Health Corp., parent company of CVS Pharmacy Inc., told Bloomberg BNA by e-mail March 11 that the company “is committed to ensuring that its employees are compensated appropriately for the hours they work.” He said the settlement avoids “the time, expense and distraction of protracted litigation.”
The lawsuit is part of a series of five class actions against CVS on behalf of pharmacists in California, according to the settlement. There are “a bit over 3,000” workers in the cases, McGlaze said. Some of them will receive payouts from two or more settlements because of overlapping classes, he said.
Three of the cases were consolidated and have received court approval to settle for $7.46 million, McGlaze said. The fourth is awaiting court approval of a proposed $2.94 million settlement, he said. That hearing is scheduled to be held next month.
CVS has revised its scheduling practices since the lawsuits were filed, McGlaze said.
For more information, see Compensation and Benefits Library’s California Wage Payment Requirements chapter.
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