Judge Grants Preliminary Approval for $6.2 Million Deal for Nurses
A group of call center-based nurses were granted preliminary approval by a California federal judge for their deal to end 1,325 claims stating that they did not receive compensation for the time spent starting up and turning off their work computers.
The $6.23 settlement between the nurses who staff the Kaiser Permanente system and the medical group includes $30,000 in administrative costs, $1.95 million in attorneys’ fees, $10,000 for each of the class representatives and $75,000 for Private Attorneys General Act penalties.
Prior to the hearing on Thursday, June 8, United States District Judge Vince Chhabria issued an order requesting the parties involved to respond to several questions about monetary allocations and notice. In addition to his questions, Judge Chhabria requested that mailers should be sent to the home addresses of class members, and emails sent to their personal and work email accounts. He also asked for the relevant materials to be posted on a settlement website, along with other requests, including suggesting that all money left from uncashed checks potentially be redistributed among the class members rather than send it to the California Unclaimed Wages Fund.
“It seems to me so unlikely anyone is going to not file a claim now, and then later seek money from the fund,” he said. “It seems like it makes more sense to distribute the additional money among class members.”
The suit was filed back in September of 2016, and alleges that the nurses working in Vallejo, San Jose and Sacramento call centers were not paid for work they did while off the clock. According to the suit, logging into the computer programs they needed for work took anywhere from four to 10 minutes, and up to 30 minutes if technical problems came up. The two minutes it took to shut their computers down after clocking out was also left uncompensated. According to the nurses, not being paid for this time violated advice given on a United States Department of Labor fact sheet from 2008 specifically on call centers that advised employers to pay for work,
“from the beginning of the first principal activity of the workday to the end of the last principal activity of the workday,” including “starting the computer to download work instructions, computer applications and work-related emails.”
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