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T-Mobile’s $2 Million Wage, OT Pact With Call Center Workers OK

June 2, 2021, 5:58 PM

T-Mobile USA Inc.'s proposed settlement with a class of call center workers who say they were cheated out of pay for time spent booting up their computers and logging into applications is fair and reasonable, and preliminarily approved, the Western District of Washington ruled.

The workers also alleged they were paid overtime at an improper rate. The pact covers all current and former employees who held certain customer service representative positions at a Legacy T-Mobile call center in the U.S. and who either timely consented to join the March 2019 class and collective action lawsuit or worked in Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, or Washington state in one of the named positions between April 23, 2017, and the June 1 preliminary approval, the court said Tuesday.

Notice was sent to more than 18,000 such workers, according to the proposed settlement agreement filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington May 18.

The suit was filed by Kristina Chetwood and two other employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act and various state laws, and is spearheaded by them and four other workers. The seven workers will serve as class representatives, the court said.

The court will hold a hearing on final approval of the settlement Oct. 22, Judge Robert S. Lasnik said. Class counsel must file a motion for attorneys’ fees and costs in advance of that hearing, he said.

Class counsel is entitled to up to one-third of the settlement fund, according to the settlement agreement.

The class representatives will split $20,000 as payment for their service to the class, in addition to their individual shares in the settlement fund, the agreement said.

T-Mobile doesn’t admit to liability on the suit’s allegations by agreeing to the settlement, the pact said.

Lasnik, in an April 7, 2020, ruling had conditionally certified the case as a nationwide collective action under the FLSA on the claims that the workers weren’t paid for off-the-clock work. But T-Mobile sufficiently refuted their allegations that it miscalculated their overtime pay, he said, declining to approve class status on those claims.

The settlement was reached with the “assistance of an experienced mediator” and “is within the range of reasonableness,” the judge said in his Tuesday order.

Sommers Schwartz PC and Schroeter Goldmark Bender represent the class. K&L Gates LLP represents T-Mobile.

The case is Chetwood v. T-Mobile USA Inc., 2021 BL 202968, W.D. Wash., No. 2:19-cv-00458, class settlement preliminarily approved 6/1/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Dorrian in Washington at pdorrian@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

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