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Company settles wage and hour suit for $2.9 million

Companies in New York and around the country are required to provide proper break periods and wage statements to their employees. If they fail to comply, they could leave themselves vulnerable to a lawsuit.

For example, a California ship repair company recently settled a class action suit filed over insufficient breaks and inaccurate wage statements. According to the complaint, employees at BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair Inc. were not provided 30-minute meal breaks, which are legally mandated. The employee who filed the lawsuit alleged that around 100 workers were required to line up to pass through a checkpoint at the beginning of each break, causing a backup. Workers also had to spend time returning tools and disembarking the ship before they could eat, which further cut into their break period. In addition to the alleged break infringement, the lawsuit claimed BAE required workers to buy their own work clothing and footwear without reimbursement, which made the company's wage statements incorrect.

BAE eventually agreed to pay $2.9 million to settle the lawsuit, which involved the class actions claims of up to 1,930 employees. A federal district court approved the settlement, but noted that BAE's liability could have been up to $11.5 million. The court deemed the settlement fair because of potential weaknesses in the case.

New York employees who believe they are not being fairly compensated may wish to discuss their case with an attorney familiar with state and local wage and hour laws. Legal counsel could assess the case for merit and advise the best course of action. If a lawsuit is recommended, an attorney could explain how to properly document employer violations and help file the complaint in court.

Source: SHRM, "Wage and Hour Claims Lead to Multimillion-Dollar Settlement", Scott Wich, March 29, 2017

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