A Wells Fargo employee settlement in the amount of $13 million is set to resolve allegations of numerous California wage and hour violations.
According to the Wells Fargo employee settlement agreement, the award will be distributed to approximately 44,000 California bank employees who allegedly experienced missed meal breaks and rest periods and were never compensated.
In addition, these employees were allegedly tasked with off-the-clock work duties that often influenced the number of hours worked but was not reflected on their paychecks. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kenneth R. Freeman is overseeing this Wells Fargo employee settlement after issuing preliminary approval.
According to the motion for preliminary approval, both the bank and plaintiff parties participated in the mediation process before agreeing to the $13 million settlement amount. The Wells Fargo employee settlement will resolve numerous claims of federal and state labor law violations which were consolidated into a class action lawsuit that was originally filed in 2011.
The main allegations stated in this claim speak to how the bank compensated employees for off-the-clock duties, which included both overtime and straight time pay. In addition, the class action lawsuit also alleges Wells Fargo failed to compensate employees for any missing meal breaks and rest periods.
The plaintiff had reportedly fought hard for the Wells Fargo employee settlement, including appealing earlier denial of class action status of their claim in 2014. The plaintiff successfully argued there were enough similarities between employees, especially when it came to how meal breaks and rest periods were handled.
Overview of California Wage and Hour Policy
Under California labor laws, non-exempt employees are entitled to 30 minute meal breaks every five hours and a 10 minute rest period every four hours. During the meal break, employees must be free to do what they want and be able to leave the work site for food.
For both meal breaks and rest periods, employees must not perform any work duties or they will still be considered on duty. If employees do not receive meal breaks or rest periods, they must be compensated one extra hour on their paycheck per missing break.
In addition, California labor laws require employers to compensate workers for off-the-clock and any side work done that may not have been within their shifts. Wells Fargo denies all allegations of California wage and hour violations, and previously argued the class action lawsuit lacks merit and is not “suitable for class-wide or collective treatment.”
The net amount to be paid to Class Members had been estimated at $7.66 million, with the average payout at $174 per Class Member. Class Members include bank tellers who had worked for Wells Fargo starting on Aug. 20, 2008, along with certain service managers who have been employed by the bank since April 7, 2011.
Seven named plaintiffs will receive $10,000 each, while approximately $4.3 million of the Wells Fargo employee settlement will go to litigation costs.
This Wells Fargo Employee Settlement is Wells Fargo Bank Wage and Hour Cases, Case No. JCCP4702, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
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