$650,000 Call Center Settlement Approved
Call centers are notorious for, on one hand, prohibiting off-the-clock work, but on the other hand, forcing employees to work off the clock through strict schedule adherence and attendance policies. Over the past several years, numerous lawsuits have been filed by firms across the country seeking compensation for the time employees spend loading and logging into computer programs.
One such case was filed against Gannett Co. Inc., originally in the District of Arizona, but subsequently transferred to the Western District of Kentucky. According to the plaintiff, she (along with other similarly situated employees) were forced to work off-the-clock in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). According to the settlement approval papers filed in the Western District of Kentucky, the parties attended two private mediations and eventually agreed to resolve the case for $650,000. The settlement provided a fund of approximately $425,000 for the class members, $200,000 attorney fees, $20,000 in litigation costs, and a $5,000 class representative award for the named plaintiff.
In approving the settlement, the Court evaluated seven factors: (1) the risk of fraud or collusion; (2) the complexity, expense and likely duration of the litigation, (3) the amount of discovery engaged in by the parties; (4) the likelihood of success on the merits; (5) the opinions of class counsel and class representatives; (6) the reaction of absent class members; and (7) the public interest. However, regarding the sixth factor, the settlement was structured as an opt-in only settlement under § 29 U.S.C. 216(b) of the FLSA, so there were no absent class members.