Volume 15, Issue 5- September/Octobert 2013
Safelite Settles Overtime Pay Case Filed by Former Employee for $1.1 Million
A settlement has been reached in a class action suit filed against Safelite Auto Glass stemmed from allegations related to overtime pay by a former employee repair technician.
According to court documents, Safelite has agreed to pay a total sum of $1,097,000 to be distributed among class members, as the result of a mediation session in the case. The settlement is pending court approval in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. According to court documents, the settlement class “means all persons employed in California by [Safelite] as a windshield repair specialist or replacement technician between November 14, 2007, and June 3, 2013.”
The proposed settlement agreement notes that Safelite “has asserted defenses to the claims alleged in the class action [suit] and expressly denies each of the claims asserted against it and any and all liability arising out of the conduct and facts alleged in the class action.”
“Defendant nevertheless desires to settle the class action,” writes counsel for Safelite.
Demetriot Lewis, who worked as a mobile windshield repair technician from April 2010 to December 2010 in the San Francisco Bay area, filed the suit originally, alleging that he was regularly scheduled to work eight hours per day, but that the company “did not pay [him] wages for all the hours [he] worked.”
“Defendant required plaintiff to clock in for work at a specified time, but regularly suffered or permitted [him] to work prior to the specified time for clocking in,” alleged Lewis in the original case. “Tasks that defendant knowingly allowed or required plaintiff to perform prior to the specified time for clocking in included calling customers; retrieving paperwork, supplies or equipment from defendant’s warehouse; attending meetings or taking tests at defendant’s warehouse; and driving to customer locations from defendant’s warehouse.”
Lewis further alleged that he was not paid for all of the hours he worked. He said that though the company sometimes paid him time and a half based on his $12 hourly rate of pay, the company did not factor the repair incentives that he sometimes received into the time-and-a-half rate.
The former technician also alleged that he often was not provided “the opportunity to take a duty-free meal period of 30 minutes,” and that his supervisors “would create or have [him] create false records purporting to reflect that plaintiff had taken a 30-minute meal period.”
At press time, the court was considering but had not yet granted approval to the proposed settlement.
Windshield Repair Technician Pleads Guilty to Insurance
An investigation by the California Department of Insurance’s Urban Auto Task Force uncovered the situation, DA Jan Scully said in the statement. Dufur and an accomplice identified as Jeremy Horstman were employed as windshield repair technicians for a Chipio franchise that specialized in repairing small windshield cracks.
“Between May 7, 2011 and March 19, 2012, Dufur and an accomplice submitted 121 fraudulent work orders to the parent company, Chipio Inc., for payment on windshield repairs that neither of them had repaired,” according to the DA.
An arrest warrant for insurance fraud has been issued for Horstman.
“After paying Dufur and his accomplice for the alleged cost of the windshield repairs, the parent company then submitted the work orders to the customers’ automobile insurance companies for payment,” the DA continued. “The franchise, the parent company and the insurance companies ended up paying $7,373 on the fraudulent work orders.”
“There are still outstanding aspects of this case that we are pursuing,” says Dale Kitching, Supervising Deputy DA. “[Jeremy Horstman] is believed to be in Mississippi and we are trying to persuade him to return to California to resolve his case.
“The California Department of Insurance and our office are also working on a similar case, which we hope to conclude in September,” he adds.