$1.6M Settlement Reached in Vitamix Unpaid Wage And Hour Class Action Lawsuit

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Santa Cruz, CA: A $1.6 million settlement has been reached in an unpaid wage and hour class action lawsuit brought by former sales representatives for Vitamix againt the blender manufacturer and employment agency Kelly Services Inc.

Defendant Vita-Mix Corp, makes and markets high-end household and commercial blenders. The company employs sales personnel through an arrangement with defendant Kelly Services Inc, to do roadshows to promote the blenders.

The lawsuit was brought by Plaintiffs Nadeen and Rainoldo Gooding who alleged that they and a subset of employees known as “roadshow demonstrators” promoted Vitamix products by traveling to retail outlets like Costco and setting up kiosks where they would demonstrate Vitamix blenders for prospective purchasers. These demonstrations carry on for four to 20 days at a time.

According to the class action, employee compensation provided by Vitamix and Kelly Services for these roadshow demonstrations was based on the number of blenders sold during each demonstration, not on an hourly wage.

The plaintiffs alleged that this compensation often fell below the legal minimum wage. They further claimed the defendants shorted them overtime wages, denied them compensation for travel time, denied them proper meal and rest breaks, and failed to maintain accurate timekeeping records.

According to the terms of the settlement, Vitamix and co-defendant Kelly Services will create a non-reversionary settlement fund worth $1.6 million, funds from which will be used to pay incentive awards for the named plaintiffs and related court costs and fees. The remaining funds will be distributed among 1,150 qualifying Class Members.

The settlement provides for three Classes: a California Class, a Non-California Class, and an Fair Labor Standards Act Class. Class Members who wish to object to the settlement must file a written objection by November 25, 2017.

The case is Gooding and Gooding v. Vita-Mix Corp. and Kelly Services Inc., Case No. 2:16-cv-03898-ODW-JEM, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. A final hearing is set for January 22, 2018.

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