Sprint retail workers may bring their suit over the company’s old incentive compensation plan as a class, a federal court held Dec. 18.

The legality of the policy is a common question of law “readily capable of classwide adjudication,” Judge William Alsup wrote for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The class includes 1,400 to 2,700 employees of Sprint stores in California.

The company’s old incentive plan was based on the results of customer surveys after interactions with the store. If a store’s score fell below its target, Sprint decreased the commissions of that store’s employees by 10 percent.

Employees filed a class action alleging the across-the-board reduction was based on factors outside their control, making the plan unlawful under California labor law.

The court rejected Sprint’s argument that the program is lawful and leaves “nothing further for the trier of fact to decide on common (or any) proof.”

Looking into the merits at the certification stage is improper, the court said.

Class certification is appropriate regardless: if Sprint is correct that the policy is legal, it will “reap the benefit of a class-wide victory,” the court said.

Haines Law Group APC represented the workers.

Littler Mendelson P.C. represented Sprint.

The case is Caudle v. Sprint/United Mgmt. Co., 2018 BL 468651, N.D. Cal., No. 17-6874, 12/18/18.