SAN FRANCISCO — Receptionists and leaders at California Weight Watchers may share in a $1.7 million settlement, if the court approves the company’s settlement proposal. The settlement is in addition to an earlier $6.2 million settlement for a similar class of employees. This settlement will resolve an ongoing, putative class action wage-and-hour lawsuit brought against the company in 2009. Weight Watchers denied the claims in both lawsuits, but has decided to settle in both cases.
The earlier $6.2 million lawsuit was filed in California in 2009. In the lawsuit, the employees claimed Weight Watchers had a policy of paying leaders for a set number of hours for each member meeting they led or they paid them for each week they performed location coordinator duties. The policy did not include or provide for payment of additional hours worked or compensation for split schedule work. As a result, the employees did not receive “hours worked” credit. They claim this meant they not only did not receive minimum wage for their additional time, it also affected their ability to earn and receive overtime wages. The complaint in the current lawsuit is virtually identical to this earlier lawsuit, except for the time frame.
The current class contains around 3300 employees working as leaders and receptionists from January 2011 through December 2012. Unlike many settlements where a class member’s share in the settlement is based on how long the employee was employed or the number of hours the employee recorded during the time period, this settlement will pay each class member about $365. The amount is nearly the same as was paid in the $6.2 million class action settlement with nearly 4,500 class members.
Settlements are generally the preferred method for resolving an ongoing legal battle. They allow both parties to make concessions and reach an agreement that is beneficial to both sides. Court decisions, on the other hand, usually benefit one side significantly more than the other and one party is usually unhappy with the final outcome. As with most court decisions there are no requirements aside from fairness for settlement agreements. This means similar or even virtually identical lawsuits can have very different settlement outcomes.
So even though this lawsuit is based on the same policies as the other class action, there was no guarantee that Weight Watchers would agree to a similar settlement. Fortunately for the class members in the current lawsuit, the California Weight Watchers locations admitted to having the same policies that were in question in the earlier lawsuit through 2012. And this lawsuit is the result of the California locations not changing their policies after the $6.2 million settlement in 2011.
If you believe your employer is not compensating you for all of the hours you have worked and owes you overtime, call our top-rated team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795 to discuss your situation. Or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form and our experienced 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.