- The Sherwin-Williams Company will pay $3,650,000 to settle claims brought by its managers and associates that it failed to pay proper overtime and provide all meal periods, among other violations of California law (Anderson v. The Sherwin-Williams Company No. 5:17-cv-02459 (C.D. Calif. May 12, 2020)).
- Workers’ allegations also included claims that the paint store failed to authorize, permit and compensate all rest periods, and that it failed to fully reimburse work expenses.
- The settlement class includes about 5,700 Sherwin-Williams workers, court documents stated. The company did not respond to request for comment by publication time.
Sherwin-Williams workers brought their claims under California law, but the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is often invoked for these types of allegations, which are common and frequently result in large settlements like this one.
Meal breaks have been responsible for many wage and hour-related claims, especially when they involve automatic deductions. Workers at an Alabama nursing home, for example, filed suit alleging their employer automatically deducted 30-minute meal breaks from their pay without ensuring they stopped working during that time.
The FLSA does not expressly prohibit such deductions, but it does require employers to pay employees for all hours worked and to keep accurate records of the hours worked. "While auto-deducting meal breaks is not a per se violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers could face exposure to 'off the clock' wage and hour lawsuits if employees are actually working during meal breaks and not being paid," Freeborn & Peters Partner Erin McAdams Franzblau previously told HR Dive. "Auto-deducting meal breaks can also expose employers to claims that they are skirting the overtime wage requirements of state and federal law."
Alleged overtime violations make up another source of claims invoking the FLSA. The law obligates employers to pay non-exempt workers time and one-half for all hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Steak 'n Shake paid more than $7.7 million to workers it misclassified as managers and denied overtime pay.