Victoria's Secret store London, UK - 2017

Victoria’s Secret is putting an end to years-long litigation over its previous use of “call-in” shifts as a scheduling tool with employees to the tune of $12 million.

The lingerie company and a group of workers on Friday proposed in California federal court a $12 million settlement agreement in a case launched in 2014 over the use of “call-in” shifts, which required store employees to check in with management for same-day possible shifts.

The crux of the employees’ argument is that call-in shifts were essentially the same as regularly scheduled shifts, in that they had to block out time for work and were purportedly subject to disciplinary action if they did not call in to see if they were needed or arrive on time if they were. The main difference is that Victoria’s Secret employees were not guaranteed work or pay with a call-in shift.

Under California law, employees are supposed to be paid for “reporting time” with such scheduling practices, equal to at least half of the day’s scheduled pay or two hours of work if they end up working less than one hour of a shift.

Employees in the litigation argued the call-in shifts “required them to mold their lives around the possibility that they might have the chance to work more hours” that often did not materialize and prevented them from scheduling other pursuits, like work elsewhere.

Victoria’s Secret stopped using call-in shifts in July 2015, according to court records.

In April of that year, state Attorney Generals, like Eric Schneiderman of New York and Kamala Harris of California, who in 2016 became a state senator, began an investigation of these types of scheduling practices, usually referred to as “on-call” shifts.

The $12 million settlement will cover payment to thousands of current and former Victoria’s Secret employees that were subject to the call-in practice and is also non-reversionary, meaning the company will not be allowed to recoup any unclaimed amounts of the settlement fund.

Counsel for the class of workers is seeking 30 percent of the settlement fund, or $3.6 million, for their work. After that and other deductions, the fund will total around $8 million.

An approval hearing for the deal is set for early July.

The suit goes back to July 2014, when a former employee sued Victoria’s Secret for unpaid wages related to call-in shifts.

While the litigation has gone through several rounds of complaints and Victoria’s Secret succeeded in dismissing many elements of the suit, the workers won approval to appeal the dismissal at the Ninth Circuit, and the parties subsequently agreed to enter mediation, which resulted in the settlement.

A representative of Victoria’s Secret could not be immediately reached for comment.

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