Last week, Home Depot USA Inc. agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that the company failed to compensate employees for their vacation pay after terminating them.
According to the motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California seeking preliminary approval of the settlement, the former workers are to receive compensation for the unpaid vacation time, “as well as additional payment for interest and waiting time penalties.” The plaintiff class includes more than 1300 former Home Depot employees terminated since August 2006.
The lawsuit was lodged as a proposed class action in August 2010 in California Superior Court and was removed to federal court in September 2010. The former workers alleged that Home Depot maintained a policy according to which employees were allowed to carryover an unlimited amount of vacation time from year-to-year and, upon separation from the company, Home Depot would then pay employees all accrued vacation time. The plaintiffs, however, allege that Home Depot often failed to fully compensate employees for their accrued vacation time.
For example, two of the lawsuit’s named plaintiffs – Martin Henshaw and Vern Souza – alleged that Home Depot only paid them a fraction of their accrued vacation hours upon their termination from employments, with Mr. Henshaw claiming that the company only paid him 35% of an accumulated 528 hours’ vacation, and Mr. Souza claiming he only received 45% of an accumulated 1210 hours’ vacation pay.
Despite agreeing to settle the lawsuit for $1.6 million – an amount reached after mediation between the parties last year – Home Depot denies all claims of liability or wrongdoing.
The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive nationwide wage and hour practice representing employees whose rights have been violated, including nonpayment of wages and denial of overtime pay.