Media outlets have reported that Papa John’s has agreed to pay $3.4 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by workers who accused the Kentucky-based pizza chain of violating California wage and hour laws and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The plaintiffs will be paid after a federal judge reviews and approves the proposed settlement. After paying attorney fees and court costs, class members who were employed at restaurants owned by Pap John’s will be paid $166 according to reports. Workers at Papa John’s locations owned and operated by franchisees will each receive a $50 gift card.
Workers sue over mandatory unpaid training
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2018 by four workers who objected to not being paid to complete 20 hours of mandatory online training. The workers pointed out that the Papa John’s corporate website specifically states that workers should be compensated for all required training. The litigation was certified as a class action when dozens of other workers stepped forward to say that they had also been required to take online training and had not been paid.
Papa John’s blames franchisees and managers
Papa John’s responded to the lawsuit by blaming managers and franchisees for violating a company policy that requires workers undergoing training to be paid. However, this argument failed to gain traction as several of the class members were employed at corporate rather than franchised locations. Settling the class action allows Papa John’s to bring a potentially embarrassing lawsuit to an end while avoiding any admission of wrongdoing. The amount of the settlement is a reflection of what the workers would have been paid to complete the training.
Weighing the benefits of joining a class action-lawsuit
Lawsuits involving wage and hour claims are often certified as class actions when a large number of workers suffered losses, but it may not always be wise for affected employees to become class members. If you have been denied wages or overtime, an attorney with experience in this area could assess your claim to determine whether or not joining a class action would be in your best interests. If you could be entitled to more damages than other class members, an attorney may suggest that you opt out of a class action in favor of pursuing an individual lawsuit.