Flight attendants for two major airlines based in the U.S. recently won a $77 million federal class action wage and hour lawsuit in California, which in addition to damages, restitution and penalties includes a $3,550-a-day interest for each day since last October, when plaintiffs had to submit an accounting of what they were owed. An estimated 1,400 flight attendants will receive pay for California wage and hour violations that included unpaid working hours, unpaid overtime, failure to receive accurate wage statements and denial of breaks as required by state statute.
The judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern Court of California had already granted judgment on the airline’s liability back in 2017, but an accounting of employee damages hadn’t been included in that ruling.
California wage and hour lawyers know the damage award in this employee lawsuit is important because the airlines had fought hard to assert federal deregulation trumped state law, and that the workers wrongly filed their claims in California – knowing they favor employees compared to other states – when in reality the claims didn’t arise in California but in many other parts of the world. The court did rule that passport expenses would not be reimbursed per a San Francisco statute (they lived and trained elsewhere) but the judge denied the other claims were improperly filed, citing executives’ policy decisions made exclusively from a California headquarters – standards that were followed globally company-wide. Continue reading