NEW YORK — More than 4,000 workers for Pret A Manger (USA) Ltd., a sandwich chain, will share in the $910,000 settlement that recently received final approval from a New York federal judge. The workers claimed the sandwich chain failed to pay them for time spent donning and doffing their uniforms, as well as time spent waiting to use changing rooms. This failure allegedly violated both New York labor law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
According to the federal judge, continued litigation of the claim posed a risk to the workers. The judge believed the settlement offered the employees greater recovery than they could have obtained from a trial award. The judge found the settlement reasonable and fair.
The settlement’s fairness was indicated when no class members objected to the settlement offer when it was proposed. The judge, when noting that only 22 potential class members opted-out of the class action, mentioned that the class notice sent to potential class members was less clear than preferred. He commented that the class notice failed to state how many class members there were, or to provide an estimated amount each member could expect to receive. This information is important, though not technically required, for potential class members to properly evaluate whether to opt-in or opt-out of a class action.
Under the terms of the agreement, any opt-in Pret employee who worked as a team member, or in a nonexempt or non-management position, between August 2006 and March 2014 at any of the 35 Pret New York City locations is included in the settlement. Class members will receive payouts based on the number of weeks they worked for Pret during that period. Those employees who worked for Pret for less than a week, a number estimated at about 500, will receive $5. For those who worked for the company for more than a week, the settlement provides about $4.50 for each week employed, averaging around $174 per class member.
Deciding to Opt-In
There are a number of factors to consider when presented with potential membership in an overtime class action, such as how many other class members are involved. This number can affect how much you might receive in a settlement or award, since the amount is shared among all class members. The number of class members may also affect the strength of certain claims and the number of claims brought, since class actions address class-wide issues and average the award among all members.
If you believe you were denied overtime wages or credit for donning and doffing your uniforms, contact our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers to discuss whether a class action or individual lawsuit is in your best interest. Call today at (855) 754-2795 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. You will pay no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.