Recent Trends in Wage and Hour Settlements
Over the past decade, the number of cases alleging wage and hour violations has been increasing. Such cases include an array of allegations, such as off-the-clock work; unpaid overtime; missed, short, or late meal periods and rest breaks; employee misclassification; unpaid termination wages; failure to pay minimum wage; time shaving; and improper tip pooling. Many of these wage and hour cases have settled, some of them for substantial amounts. To quantify and analyze the characteristics of recent settlements, NERA Senior Vice President Dr. Denise Martin, Vice President Dr. Stephanie Plancich, and Senior Analyst Janeen McIntosh collected information on 187 settlements of wage and hour cases that were reported from 2007 to 2010. As expected, the authors found that settlements increased with the number of class members and the length of the class period, with an average settlement of $1,000 per plaintiff per class period year. Significant variability in settlements remains, however, after controlling for these factors.