Why does Five Guys have to pay $1.2 million in compensation to workers in California?
The burger chain is under pressure from a class action lawsuit with claims that thousands of employees were not provided with breaks.
Five Guys could finally be wrapping up its long-standing class action lawsuit in California. Facing down the wrath of some 2,000 workers who alleged their rights had been trampled, the gourmet burger company reached an initial settlement nearly five years ago only for courts to push against it.
According to the allegations in the lawsuit, the plaintiff leading the class-action worked at a Five Guys location in California from August to November 2016 as a “manager-in-training.” He claimed he and a class of 2,206 employees were not provided with meal breaks or rest breaks in accordance with California labor law.
State law dictates that workers must at least have:
The lawsuit also claims that workers were made to work off the clock and not paid minimum wage or overtime for this.
The drawn out settlement coming to a close
A settlement was originally agreed back in October 2018. However, judges subsequently refused the agreed money, saying it was too low to adequately cover the restitution required by the agrieved workers. Attorney fees were also judged to be too high for the amount of money agreed; the law firm in question would have been paid nearly 40% of the total funds secured.
On 19 April, the workers involved filed a brief telling District Judge Jennifer Thurston to accept the deal. This is the fifth agreement between the plaintiff and Five Guys and it is hoped judges will accept its adequacy this time.
The new agreement totals $1.2 million, meaning each claimant could receive up to $900, depending on the final fee given to lawyers prosecuting the case.