$6 Million Wage Settlement Reached with Ecolab Sales Managers

by Norman B. Blumenthal on August 30, 2017

blumenthal nordrehaug & bhowmik, southern california employment law, southern california employment law attorneys, wage class action, ecolab wage class action, wage class action settlement, california wage class actionA $5.95 million settlement received final approval from a California federal judge. The settlement will be paid by Ecolab Inc. to a class of service managers who filed a complaint with allegations of misclassification. The judge did note that she would be cutting the attorneys’ fees bid down from the originally proposed $1.48 million, stating that that figure would be a “windfall.”

The judge saw the settlement as a very good result for class members particularly in light of the risks presented by the arbitration agreement included in each of the plaintiffs’ employment contracts with Ecolab forbidding class action litigation. Most of the terms of the settlement have been approved.

 

 

Division of Settlement Funds:

  • Providing 158 workers $442/week of work
  • Providing 5 class representatives $5,000 additional
  • Giving $15,000 to California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
  • Giving $9,000 to the claims administrator

The attorneys’ fees were calculated in accordance with a previous wage lawsuit against the Defendant, but as this case was settled in a matter of months, the judge was reluctant to approve the 25% attorneys’ fees. The judge indicated that the attorneys’ fees would be trimmed to 20%.

The lawsuit was filed against Ecolab Inc. in August 2016. After three months, it went to mediation. The suit stems from a previous case, Ross v. Ecolab, which resulted in a settlement of $35 million in spring of 2016 after a long seven-year litigation battle. Soon after they reached settlement, Campos filed another lawsuit to seek relief from misclassification (exempt from overtime) for route managers and service managers not covered in the previous suit. The Ross class was certified in Superior Court in 2012 prior to being removed to federal court so subsequent eligible class members were not included in the settlement.

Ecolab Inc. waited seven months after the Ross settlement to reclassify mangers as overtime eligible. Thus Campos was seeking compensation for the second half of 2016.

Attorneys note that if the Campos plaintiffs had been included in the Ross deal, the attorneys would have seen 25% in attorneys’ fees.

If you need to discuss misclassification in the workplace, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.

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