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Overtime Pay Class Action Settled For Over $2 Million

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Chico, CAA class action lawsuit filed against Tri Counties Bank (the Bank) alleging violations to overtime pay laws in California has been settled at a sum ranging from $2,039,500 to $2,500,000 pending court approval and a determination as to the final number of class participants.

According to a Business Wire press release published in the New York Times (9/27/12), a former employee of the bank alleged that the Bank improperly and incorrectly classified assistant branch managers as exempt from qualifying for overtime pay. The former employee, who was not identified, served as the lead plaintiff in the class action on behalf of all current and former employees of the Bank affected by the alleged misclassification in kind.

California overtime law holds that all employees who correctly qualify for overtime pay are due such pay after working above a set number of hours in any given work week. To that end, overtime is also calculated according to a strict formula.

Overtime laws in California also hold that some employee classifications, for various reasons, are exempt from the requirement to pay overtime. Here again, the guidelines and regulations are explicit and specific.

However, many employers have taken what could be construed as a gray area and placed employees into a classification which shields the employer from paying overtime as necessary, when in fact the employee should indeed qualify for overtime under California overtime law.

The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court of California, alleged failure to pay overtime compensation, meal periods, rest periods, wage statements and suitable seating. The lawsuit also alleged declaratory relief; accounting and unfair business practices in violation of Business and Professions Code section 17200, according to the release.

Following efforts to mediate the claim, it was reported the former employee and the Bank agreed on a settlement. The Bank, it was also reported, recorded on September 26 an expense and accrued liability in the amount of $2,090,000 in anticipation of settlement approval by the Court.

Tri Counties Bank is the primary subsidiary of TriCo Bancshares. The complaint did not appear to involve workers compensatio


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