California Judge Approves $3M Settlement with FedEx Workers


By: Marshall Coyle

A California federal judge gave the green light to a $3.15 million deal ending a pair of putative class actions accusing FedEx unit Genco I Inc. of not giving breaks to workers and of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by conducting secret background checks.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers initially approved the agreement in August following a revision of a “confusing” settlement first proposed in June.
Under the terms of the agreement, half the settlement will be allotted to the nearly 900 members of a California wage and hour class, and the other half will go to over 20,000 members of a national Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) class.
In a brief order, Judge Gonzalez Rogers certified the classes for settlement purposes and granted an award of $787,500 in attorney fees, or 25% of the total fund, along with $16,809.70 for litigation expenses. The lead plaintiff for both suits, Adan Ortiz, will receive $5,000 for his time and effort.
“The Court further finds and determines that the terms of the Settlement are fair, reasonable, and adequate to the Classes and to each Class Member,” the judge said. “The Court finds and determines that the Classes, as conditionally certified by the Preliminary Approval Order meet all of the legal requirements for class certification for settlement purposes only.”
The settlement resolves two lawsuits that Ortiz filed against Genco, which has since been renamed FedEx Supply Chain Inc. Ortiz was a nonexempt worker for Genco, which operated a Kraft Heinz Food Co. facility, from March to October 2015. He filed the wage and hour suit against Genco and Kraft Heinz in June 2016, followed by a separate suit alleging FCRA violations in May 2017.
The first suit alleged Genco and Kraft Heinz failed to give workers meal and rest breaks and improperly rounded employee time records. Ortiz voluntarily dropped allegations against Kraft Heinz in December 2016. The other action accused the company of violating the FCRA by failing to disclose it was conducting preemployment background checks.
The cases are Ortiz v. Genco I Inc. and Ortiz v. Genco I Inc. et al., case numbers 4:16-cv-04601 and 4:17-cv-03692, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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