US District Judge William Orrick III called the settlement a "fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute" in his April 27, 2017 order approving the settlement in the US District Court, Northern District of California.
Class action lead plaintiff Paula Donald, who filed the overtime lawsuit in Nov. 2014, claimed that she was initially classified as an independent contractor when she was hired in 2010 by Xanitos but the firm later reclassified her as an exempt employee, according to Courthouse News Service.
"In a 2015 amended complaint, Donald said she and other employees often worked 12-hour shifts and more than 40 hours a week, but weren’t paid overtime because they were reclassified," according to Courthouse News Service. "According to Donald, Kaiser and Xanitos also failed to record the number of hours their employees worked, and refused to allow them meal and rest breaks."
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Under the terms of the settlement, Kaiser and Xanitos will pay $500,000 to independent contractors who provided environmental services to Kaiser and Xanitos in California and management employees that Xanitos classified as exempt.
The court awarded $150,000 in attorneys' fees and $9,500 in costs to class counsel and a $2,500 enhancement award to class representative Donald, according to court documents.
“The court approves the agreement and finds that it is a reasonable compromise of the claims of plaintiff and the settlement classes,” Orrick wrote in his ruling. "It achieves a definite and certain result for the benefit of the settlement classes that is preferable to continuing litigation.”