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Employer reaches settlement for almost $3 million

A class-action settlement was filed in a California federal court on June 23 between Johnson Controls and a group of plaintiff employees. A final hearing on the settlement was scheduled for July 29 to determine if the $2.8 million arrangement would be approved. The complaint was initially filed by the lead employee in the lawsuit on April 15, 2013, and a first amended complaint was filed just over a month later.

The lawsuit alleges that Johnson Controls had been failing to itemize wage statements starting as far back as April 15, 2009, and it also says that the company had failed to compensate its employees for vacation time and final wages. There were 1,441 former employees involved in the lawsuit, none of whom were members of a union. The named employee in the case was expected to receive $5,000 from the settlement fund. Attorneys' fees were calculated in the amount of $700,000, litigation expenses reached a total of $15,000 and administration costs claims were allotted up to $30,000.

Although Johnson Controls denied that it withheld vacation pay or committed labor violations, the company reached a settlement with the help of a mediator. Johnson Controls removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on July 11, 2013, pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. The parties began mediation on February 13, and each party was represented by a team of attorneys.

Employees who feel that they are entitled to overtime pay or who believe that their employer is in violation of a wage and hour law may want to speak with an employment law attorney. In some cases, wage and hour claims may be resolved by a simple administrative hearing, and an attorney may help an employee by ensuring that the appropriate documentation is presented.

Source: Legal Newsline, "Johnson Controls agrees to $2.8 million settlement in class action", Kyla Asbury, June 27, 2014

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