- 7-Eleven Inc. has agreed to pay a class-action settlement of about $1.2 million for failing to compensate employees in Washington state for missed meal periods during shifts, according to filings made in U.S. district courts.
- The lawsuit, Shanahan v. 7-Eleven, claimed that 7-Eleven scheduled employees to work busy and understaffed shifts during which there was no opportunity to take regular meal breaks, and “willfully and intentionally withheld wages” during these periods, violating two separate Washington state laws (Shanahan v. 7-Eleven No. 3:22-cv-5484 (W. Wash. March 8, 2023)).
- A federal judge in Washington state gave preliminary approval to the settlement last week. In early February, the retailer paid $91 million to a Chicago-area resident who lost both of his legs after being struck by a vehicle outside a 7-Eleven in September 2017.
Originally filed in the Clark County Superior Court on June 3, 2022, the case was brought on behalf of 3,828 individuals who held nonmanagerial roles for 7-Eleven in Washington between June 3, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2022. The case was bumped to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on July 1, 2022.
According to the court filings, 7-Eleven violated Washington’s law that grants employees a meal period of at least 30 minutes and prevents them from legally working more than five hours without a meal. Additionally, filings alleged 7-Eleven withholding employees’ wages was in violation of Washington’s law regarding rebates of wages.
Although 7-Eleven argued that its meal period policies were valid since the nature of its employees’ work varies from store to store, the parties agreed to settle on March 2 for $1,150,000, or about 60% of the maximum meal break wages allegedly owed to the 7-Eleven employees. The settlement was signed on March 8 by U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle.
“These results, consistent with those of the instant case, demonstrate that the Settlement obtained here is fair and reasonable, especially when considering the serious risks Plaintiff faced in the immediate case,” the court documents said.
7-Eleven isn’t the only major convenience store that has recently faced a wage-related lawsuit. As of December, Casey’s General Stores was dealing with two cases — one in Tennessee, the other in Iowa — that claimed the retailer “utilized three methods to cheat” employees out of overtime wages they were owed, violating the Fair Labor Standards Act in the process.
7-Eleven did not respond by press time to an inquiry from C-Store Dive, HR Dive’s sister publication, for details on its latest settlement.