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$155 Million Overtime Settlement Approved for Prison Supervisors

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A California judge has approved a $155 million settlement for over 10,000 California prison employees who alleged they were shortchanged on overtime pay.

San Francisco, CAA $155 million overtime settlement filed by current and retired California prison supervisors has been approved by a San Francisco Superior Court Judge. The original California labor lawsuit, dating back to 2008, alleged unpaid overtime wages for tasks performed before and after their shifts.

According to the motion for final approval, the class members include more than 10,000 correctional supervisors who worked at adult and youth facilities at some point between April 9, 2005, and June 30, 2023. The motion states that "Plaintiffs would have sought between $184 million and in excess of $300 million at trial… the settlement will ensure that [the] defendants adequately compensate their correctional supervisors for alleged time worked."

Almost 15 years of litigation between the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation finally ended in late October before Superior Court Judge Andrew Y.S. Cheng. Since 2008, one of the four original named plaintiffs and other unnamed class members have passed away and others have become infirm, and thousands of others have retired, their attorneys told the court. (CCPOA represents about 27,000 officers, making it the state government’s second-largest union by membership.) The discovery produced 100 gigabytes of data, representing well over half a million pages, plaintiffs’ attorneys told the court.

Overtime Lawsuit Timeline

2008: The lawsuit was filed claiming unpaid overtime wages.

2013: Claims were dismissed following trial.

2016: the First District Court of Appeal reinstated the claims after plaintiffs appealed.

2019: the California Supreme Court ruled that the state's correctional supervisors, who aren't unionized, could pursue their unpaid overtime claims, but said officers who are unionized couldn't pursue their class action claims, as they were covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

2022: The $155 million settlement was “tentatively approved” and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation called it a fair settlement.

According to Law360, Judge Cheng wrote in his approval order that, "The court approves the settlement as fair, reasonable, and adequate and finds that the settlement agreement affords members of the settlement classes meaningful relief under the circumstances, taking into consideration the risks and expenses of continued litigation (including the risks of de-certification and appeals)," and noted “the absence of objections.”

The case is California Correctional Employees Wage and Hour Cases, case number CJC-11-004661, in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Francisco.


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