Class action settlement over workers' lunch breaks gets the OK in Pennsylvania federal court

By Charmaine Little | Apr 17, 2019

PHILADELPHIA - On April 10, Judge Joseph F. Leeson, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania greenlighted a settlement agreement for a class action lawsuit related to a Fair Labor Standards Act violation.

Jeffrey Sawyer sued Health Care Solutions at Home, Inc. and Lincare, Inc. on behalf of himself and others in his situation, claiming that the companies “improperly deducted time for their recorded hours for lunch breaks plaintiffs did not take,” according to court documents. 

The plaintiffs, who were hourly Service Representatives and Customer Service Representatives, also alleged the defendants didn’t include bonus compensation into their overtime rate. Both parties were able to agree on a settlement. 

The condition was that the defendants would pay a non-reversionary fund of $21,900.01 to the plaintiffs if the plaintiffs dropped all of their claims concerning this lawsuit. Both parties requested approval from the court, which is a requirement for FLSA cases. The court granted the motion, approving the settlement.

The court said the plaintiffs meet the requirements of being “similarly situated” considering all six of them have worked as either a Service Representative or Customer Service Representative at the defendants’ Pennsylvania hubs on or after March 15, 2014. While the amount of hours they worked aren’t the same, each plaintiff claimed that the defendants deducted 30-minute lunch breaks that the plaintiffs never actually had.

The court also favored the settlement as it solves a bona fide dispute as the terms “reflect a reasonable compromise over issues, such as…back wages, that are actually in dispute.”

It also noted the settlement is fair and reasonable, and doesn’t interfere with the FLSA, “as long as the confidentiality clause is broadly construed.” Under the cause, plaintiffs are barred from directly or indirectly giving any kind of information concerning the settlement to anyone except their spouses, legal teams, and tax advisors.

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