Cintas Settles Overtime Class Action for $22.75 MillionThis week hundreds of delivery drivers at the nation's largest uniform provider, Cintas, were notified a $22.75 million settlement agreement had been reached in the class action overtime lawsuit, Veliz v. Cintas Corporation. It was a long road for the uniform delivery drivers, whose suit, filed in 2003, alleged Cintas misclassified thousands of their route drivers as exempt employees in order to avoid paying overtime required by state and federal laws.
"After six long years of delay tactics and needless posturing by Cintas, drivers will finally receive just compensation for overtime work performed that was wrongly withheld," said Bruce Raynor, President of Workers United, the laundry workers union that has been working with Cintas production workers seeking to form a union. "In the end justice was delayed but not denied, as Cintas ultimately agreed to the recommended settlement agreement negotiated through the arbitration process."
The Cintas drivers who pick up soiled uniforms, oily rags and other items and drop off a fresh supply were classified by the company as salaried workers instead of hourly workers, who would be entitled to overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires workers to be compensated for all hours worked, unless they are specifically exempted. Executives and professionals are exempted and can be required to work more than 40 hours a week without being paid overtime. The drivers argued that their jobs driving trucks, delivering uniforms and servicing existing contracts do not make them exempt from being paid for hours worked over 40 hours.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs, Altshuler Berzon LLP, are notifying plaintiffs that the general terms of settlement had been reached. However, a frame work for allocation of funds is still being worked on and it will still be months before the final settlement agreement is approved by the court.
Cintas is the largest uniform rental provider and industrial launderer in North America. Cintas provides laundry, uniforms and other business services to customers across North America. The company has a troubling history with worker protection laws, including being assessed the largest proposed OSHA fine in the service sector for safety violations surrounding the death of Eleazar Torres Gomez in Oklahoma.