Current and former California employees of Time Warner Cable LLC got a Christmas present in the form of an announcement that Time Warner has agreed to settle their wage and hour lawsuit for $1.25 million.
The class action lawsuit was filed in June 2010 and alleged the cable company failed to pay its call center employees minimum wage and overtime when they worked more than eight hours a day or forty hours a week.
California labor law sets the state minimum wage at $9 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Cities also have their own wage and hour laws, so employers conducting business in the U.S. need to make sure they’re abiding by all relevant labor laws. The law with the highest minimum wage takes precedence over the others.
California also has stricter overtime regulations than the rest of the country. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. All non-exempt employees are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay for all the overtime they spend working. The state of California further requires employers to double their workers’ compensation for any time spent working after twelve hours in one day or for any time spent working on the seventh consecutive day of work.
Time Warner continues to deny that it did anything illegal, but it has agreed to settle the class action wage and hour lawsuit in order to avoid the risks associated with continuing to fight the battle in the courts. Since it took five and a half years to reach a settlement, a court battle could drag on for many more years, racking up attorneys’ fees and legal costs on both sides.
At the end of the day, there’s no way to be sure which side a jury will favor. Even if Time Warner is sure of its innocence in regards to the recent allegations, it could still face a court order to pay much more than $1.25 million to the class of plaintiffs, in addition to fines and other legal costs.
Likewise, the plaintiffs also benefit from a settlement by getting the promise of being paid some money over the risk of pursuing the dispute in court where a jury might rule against them.
The settlement takes into account the various legal fees and attorneys’ costs and will cover those expenses for the plaintiffs. After those have been paid, the remaining settlement amount will be distributed among the putative class members based on the number of weeks they worked during the class period. Once those payments have been calculated and paid out, if there is 65% or less of the settlement amount remaining, those funds will revert back to Time Warner.
Despite the announcement of the settlement agreement coming just before Christmas, the settlement still needs preliminary and then final approval by a court judge before Time Warner can start sending out payments. It will most likely be at least a few more months before the putative class members see their money, assuming the courts approve the terms of the settlement.
Our Bloomingdale and West Dundee wage and hour attorneys and unpaid overtime lawyers and attorneys are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify 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.
Nationwide Consumer Rights is based in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace. We represent clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at 630-333-0333 or through our online form.