Sirius XM, Pandora and a group of employees were just sent to mediation in an effort to resolve the estimated $5.8 million suit. The suit claims the companies did not reimburse workers for equipment and utilities they need to do their jobs.
U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee filed the order Tuesday, allowing hopeful class representative Jessica Potts, Sirius XM Radio Inc. and subsidiary Pandora Media LLC an attempt to resolve the proposed class action. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the companies' employees were sent home to work, they bore the brunt of added costs that were not reimbursed by Sirius XM or Pandora, the suit said.
Potts originally filed the suit, which is also a Private Attorneys General Act representative action, against the companies in California Superior Court but saw it removed to federal court in December. She claims her employer violated both California labor laws and the state's Unfair Competition Law.
In the motion to remove the case to federal court, the companies estimated they could owe $5.8 million to over 2,000 employees due to the alleged unpaid reimbursements. Sirius XM and Pandora have denied all the accusations and believe the suit is unfit for class treatment, according to a January court filing.
Potts said Sirius XM and Pandora did not reimburse employees for internet service, phone hardware, phone services, wireless routers, USB cables, chairs, work surfaces, work lighting and other utilities that they had to pay for to effectively do their jobs.
Potts also said the companies did not provide accurate wage statements because they did not include the floor or suite number for the businesses' mailing addresses as required by California law. These transgressions also violated California's Unfair Competition Law because they put employees at a disadvantage to competitors' workers, Potts said.
Joint status reports on the mediation are due to the court in August and June 2023, the order said.
The order comes after all parties indicated in a January court filing that they would be open to private mediation. The filing also said Sirius XM and Pandora felt mediation should begin after the first phase of discovery.
"Defendants believe that mediation is premature at this time and should occur, at the earliest, after the first phase of discovery," the joint filing said.