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$1 Million Settles Southwest’s Wage Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES — The parties in a proposed class action wage claim against Southwest Airlines Co. have reached a proposed settlement recently. Southwest has agreed to create a fund to cover the $1 million settlement that will resolve the claims of its current and former employees that the airline failed to pay terminated employees on time and did not provide accurate wage statements in violation of California state labor laws. Southwest continues to deny the claims, but is settling after lengthy negotiations.

The Wage Claim and Settlement

The lawsuit, filed in August 2013, is on behalf of two classes: those who did not receive accurate wage statements and those who received delayed pay after termination. The two classes are believed to include about 5,400 employees with about 5,000 in the wage statement class. The class members who received delayed termination pay will receive $150 each from the settlement while the class members who received inaccurate wage statements will receive amounts based on the number of pay periods they worked before August 2013.

In the lawsuit, a former Southwest employee, Timothy Mansfield, claimed the wage statements the company provided did not have all of the information the state’s law required. Some of the required information Mansfield claims was missing included the number of hours worked, the hourly rate applied, and the pay period dates. Mansfield also claimed the company failed to pay all of the wages he was owed within the state mandated 72-hour period after his termination. He alleges the company did not pay him until four days after his termination. Interestingly, Southwest argued that the classes should not have been certified because the statute of limitations had run on the class members’ claims. Timing can be very important with wages and with wage claims.

State Labor Laws

Federal labor laws set basic guidelines for things like minimum wage, overtime pay, meal and rest periods, and recordkeeping. States cannot create laws that would undermine the basics set in federal laws, but they can create stronger and more specific labor laws. As in this case, federal law does not require employers provide termination pay within a specific timeframe, except that it needs to be by the end of the last pay period the employee worked. California state law specifically requires paying the terminated employee 72 hours after termination. Generally, state laws will either work in conjunction with or supersede federal laws in situations like these. And in some cases where both state and federal labor laws may apply, the statute of limitations may run longer when state claims are added to federal claims.

If your employer does not provide accurate wage statements, or any wage statements, you may have a wage claim under either state or federal law. Contact our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795 to discuss your rights. Or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form and our knowledgeable legal team will evaluate your case. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement. However, there are strict time deadlines for filing lawsuits so it is important to contact an attorney immediately.

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