A group of about two dozen current and former retail employees of Burberry Ltd. on Monday told a New York federal court that they have agreed to settle their proposed class action alleging they worked overtime without being paid.
While denying all of the allegations, Burberry has said it will put $2.5 million into a settlement fund to put an end to the lawsuit.
A Burberry spokeswoman said the company “takes the treatment of its employees very seriously and we are committed to complying with all required employment regulations and guidelines, everywhere we operate.”
The employees, all of whom worked in New York, launched their suit at the tail end of 2015 claiming they were “routinely” denied overtime pay when working in excess of a 40 hours a week, which violates state labor laws as well as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Moreover, employees argued that their handwritten time cards did not reflect all the hours they worked in a week because they were “often instructed by management to only record their scheduled, and not actual, time worked,” according to the complaint.
Even if they did record their overtime hours on a time card, like time spent cleaning before a store opened and after it closed or working through lunch breaks on a busy day, the associates claim they were not paid for that time because store management would only report scheduled hours for payroll.
During the holiday season, the associates said they often worked 12 to 14 hour days, five days a week, but were still not paid overtime.
The suit alleged the practice was not dictated by individual store managers. Plaintiffs claimed they once overheard a regional manager of Burberry “yell” at the manager of a store on Columbus Circle, saying, “If [employees] work more than the time they’re scheduled, that’s on them. If they don’t like it here they can leave,” according to court records.
After counsel for plaintiffs received “thousands” of documents pertaining to payroll and interviewed some store associates and managers, Burberry and the proposed class began settlement talks earlier this year.
The associates said Monday that they see the $2.54 settlement amount as “highly favorable to the class.” Attorneys for the class are set to receive about $846,666 of the settlement as payment of their fees.
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