Even after two parties agree to a settlement, it can sometimes take months before the court grants final approval of settlement in a class action case. It is the responsibility of the court to make sure the settlement is fair to both parties before it closes the case for good.
A recent wage and hour class action lawsuit against Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group actually settled in August of 2014, but the court didn’t grant final approval of the settlement until January 2015. The wage and hour lawsuit involves 888 employees who worked at three of Wolfgang Puck’s major locations in California: Santa Monica, Spago in Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles. The lawsuit, which was filed in California, alleged violations of California Labor Law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Under California labor law, all hourly employees working within the state are entitled to one paid rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours they spend working. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to an unpaid meal break of at least half an hour. For every day an employee misses one of these breaks, for any reason, the employee is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages earned that day. According to the wage and hour lawsuit, employees at Wolfgang Puck were allegedly denied their meal and rest breaks and the additional wages required to make up for missed breaks. The lawsuit alleges these missed breaks were under orders from management at Wolfgang Puck.
The class action lawsuit further alleges management demanded that employees work overtime without the proper overtime compensation. This is in direct violation of the federal FLSA, which puts restrictions on the minimum hourly wage employees can be paid, as well as what constitutes overtime. Under the FLSA, any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week is considered overtime. All non-exempt, hourly employees working in the United States are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay for all overtime worked.
The two parties argued over the legal dispute in court for almost two years before finally agreeing to a settlement. The agreement states that Wolfgang Puck will pay $1.7 million to the class of plaintiffs to settle the wage and hour lawsuit. Each class member will submit a claim and receive a portion of the settlement based on how many breaks they allegedly missed and the number of hours they allegedly worked overtime without the proper overtime compensation.
According to the agreement, if, after all the claims and legal fees have been paid, there is still more than $10,000 remaining of the $1.7 million settlement, the remainder will be proportionally distributed to any plaintiff that cashed her initial check in the first 90 days after the settlement was finalized. If there is less than $10,000 remaining from the settlement after all claims have been paid, the difference will go to the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice.
The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Hilton, W, Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s and hotels for mis-classifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including West Chicago and Schaumburg. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Aurora and Schaumburg overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers mis-classify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.