Friday, December 14, 2012

Class Action Lawsuit Settles at Disney

Disney Settles Class Action Suit But Still Faces Court Date
The company settled a claim that it intentionally failed to pay about 30 current and former employees overtime wages and provide breaks they were entitled to, but a judge must now certify the settlement.

The Walt Disney Co. will not admit any liability, according to Moss, but will pay a settlement and penalties that he would not specify. The case is expected to go before the judge to be certified sometime in 2013.

A claim against the Walt Disney Co. for intentionally failing to pay about 30 current and former employees overtime wages and provide breaks they were entitled to has been settled out of court, but a class action suit was still filed Thursday so that a L.A. Superior Court judge can certify the settlement, according to Dennis Moss, an attorney in the case.

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Moss describes the class action suit as a follow-up to another class action suit filed by Joseph Peralta and Pamela Ventura in late 2010 on behalf of 36 salaried employees who worked in a related department, who argued they had been incorrectly classified as managers or “exempt employees” between July 2004 and August 2010. That suit was filed in 2011.

Clay’s suit says most of the employees were actually non-exempt. In her case, Clay says that she was “misclassified” as “exempt,” which was Disney’s excuse to not pay her overtime and for giving her deadlines that made it impossible for her to take lunch and other breaks to which she was entitled under California labor law.

“The failure to pay those class members all overtime sums owing to them upon termination of their employment was willful, and therefore those class members are also entitled to relief,” says the suit.

In addition to whatever they are owed in unpaid wages, California labor law also requires the payment of penalties that range from $50 to $200 for each incident and for each employee. The law says that 75 percent of the penalties should be paid to the Labor and Work Force Development Agency, which is part of the state’s Department of Industrial Relations.

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