Clothing retailer, Zumiez, agreed to pay $2.8 million to about 6,000 current and former employees, ending a proposed class action in California federal court claiming the company’s call-in shift reporting requirements stiffed workers on pay.
The workers asked U.S. District Judge Stanley A. Bastian this week to preliminarily approve the settlement they struck with Zumiez, claiming the deal will grant substantial monetary relief to the workers and quickly resolve the California Labor Code and Private Attorneys General Act claims included in the 2016 lawsuit.
“Absent settlement, the parties would be required to litigate these claims as to class certification, liability, and damages issues, which would be costly, time-consuming to resolve, and would present a substantial risk to both sides of the case,” the workers said.
The deal, which comes after a full day of mediation, would include up to $30,000 to cover the settlement administration costs, up to $933,333 for attorney fees, and no more than $50,000 in litigation costs, the workers said.
The settlement would also devote a $25,000 award to the class representative and named plaintiff Alexia Herrera for her involvement in the suit, as well as a $75,000 payment to the state of California and $25,000 to the aggrieved employees to resolve the PAGA claim, according to Monday's motion.
After those deductions are made from the gross settlement amount of $2.8 million, the net amount will be distributed to the purported class based on the number of workweeks the class members worked, according to the motion.
The workers expect the class will include about 6,151 current and former hourly employees in California from Aug. 1, 2012, to June 3, 2016.
The dispute stems from a lawsuit former Zumiez sales associate Alexandra Bernal filed in August 2016. Bernal claimed she and other employees were required to call their managers hours before their shifts to determine if they would be needed that day. However, Zumiez failed to pay workers for canceled shifts or the time they spent on the phone with their managers, the suit said.
In October of that year, Bernal filed her first amended complaint, adding Herrera.
In February 2017, Judge Bastian dismissed Bernal from the suit after she voluntarily withdrew as a class representative.
In August 2017, Judge Bastian denied Zumiez's motion for judgment on the pleadings, saying making the phone calls was necessary to report for work.
The company appealed and the Ninth Circuit ruled in March 2020 that making workers call in to find out if they have to work their shifts before they start triggers California's requirement that workers get "reporting time pay."