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Judge Approves Terminix Overtime Pay Settlement

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San Francisco, CAA federal judge in San Francisco, California, recently approved a settlement worth $1.5 million in unpaid overtime to more than 1,200 termite inspectors in training for pest-control company Terminix, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the news source, US District Judge Susan Ilston agreed with the settlement after she initially rejected the company's claims that termite inspections are exempt from overtime because they fall under the category of sales activities.

While Terminix reportedly offers such inspections for free on a regular basis, Ilston stated in June that they should be considered services rather than sales or pitches. Typically, the company uses the inspections to offer follow-up services, which cost money, the news source said.

Under Ilston's ruling that the inspections are actually services, the workers are entitled to overtime pay for work exceeding eight hours per day or more than 40 hours in a week, according to California labor law.

The original lawsuit, which was filed by the employees in May 2008, claimed that the inspectors in training were subject to long hours, especially toward the end of spring and the beginning of summer. The workers claimed they did not receive the overtime, breaks or meal periods required under state law.

Facing the lawsuit from more than 1,200 workers, Terminix reportedly changed its worker policy in April 2010 to classify such trainees as eligible for overtime and other benefits, according to the news source. Each of the workers will reportedly receive approximately $800 under the settlement, with the remaining money going toward attorneys' fees and other costs.

While the trainees—who worked for the company in California between June 2004 and April 2010—will receive portions of the settlement, it has not yet been decided what, if any, overtime pay Terminix owes to some 1,800 licensed termite inspectors who were also employed during that period and conducted the inspections, the news source reported.

With this decision still pending, California labor laws could also soon be changing, as a new proposed bill would require overtime pay and breaks for domestic workers. According to television station KPSP, Assembly Bill 889—dubbed the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights—would require a 30-minute break after five hours of work for domestic work employees.

The bill was reportedly introduced by Coachella Valley Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez and fellow Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, the news source said.

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