Stericycle Employment Class Action Suit Settled for $2 Million

A preliminary settlement agreement has been reached between the parties of the Stericycle employment class action lawsuit. The suit was brought against Stericycle, Inc., a medical waste company, with workers alleging that the company refused to provide them with required meal and rest breaks, did not pay overtime for overtime hours worked, and failed to compensate workers for time they were required to spend changing into their “work clothes.”

Approximately 985 California employees make up the class. The class was originally represented by plaintiff Sergio Gutierrez. He filed the putative class action in summer of 2014. Since that time, Gutierrez passed away. Two other plaintiffs were put forward as replacements: Kenneth Moniz and Kevin Henshaw. Both are expected to receive up to $10,000 for time and effort spent bringing the action and in exchange for general release of claims. This is in accordance with the proposed $2 million settlement as stated in the agreement.

According to the complaint, Stericycle utilized a practice of “rounding” payroll times which shorted their workers’ wages, and employees were not completely compensated for their time spent dressing in the required work clothing (donning and doffing). The company also allegedly did not include all worker bonuses in their overtime rates, failed to provide compensation for vested vacation payments, and didn’t offer required meal and rest periods to their workers as is required by employment law. 

Stericycle employs staff at more than 28 California locations and handles the collection, processing and disposal of medical waste. Class members include Stericycle employees working out of any California Stericycle location from August 14, 2010 through September 18, 2017. According to the motion for approval, Stericycle offered individual settlement amounts to certain class members (starting in 2015) attempting to minimize the lawsuit’s exposure. Those settlements payments amount to a total of $460,000. Individuals who took money from Stericycle under individual settlement deals will be provided with a reduced portion of the settlement for their worked shifts covered by prior corporate agreements with Stericycle.

Workers involved in the suit also claim that the company uses a point system to reward employees for avoiding incidents in the workplace. Points under the Stericycle system were converted to cash credits that could then be used on Amazon. Plaintiffs contend that these amounts should have been calculated into the regular rates of pay used to come up with overtime pay rates.

If you have questions or concerns about your employer’s overtime calculation, or if you are not being paid overtime in accordance with state and federal employment law, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.