July 21st, 2010
By Sarah Pierce
(LEGAFI) — It took nearly five years of litigation, but current and former garbage truck drivers for Waste Management of Massachusetts, Inc. have finally won their class action lawsuit against the company for wage violations and unpaid overtime. More than 1,200 drivers will share in the $7 million class action settlement, which was approved by a Massachusetts State Court on June 25. The drivers’ attorney estimates that most drivers will receive checks for more than double what they should have been paid in the first place (one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 per week), while some drivers will receive as much as $60,000 in back pay.
The drivers allege Waste Management of Massachusetts manipulated its prevailing wage payroll records in order to deny them their correct overtime pay. A court ruling in 2008 agreed, finding that the company used an illegal payroll formula to determine the hourly rate it used to calculate overtime pay and ordering the company to pay for an independent audit of its payroll records. An extensive audit review led to a mediation session between the parties in late 2009, which resulted in the $7 million settlement that was finally approved last month. The class action lawsuit settlement will give more than 1,200 current and former garbage truck drivers for the company and average of more than 200% of what they were lawfully owed in overtime pay dating back to 2003.
The attorney for the plaintiffs said in a statement that it was a significant victory for the drivers. “After being told for years that their pay was correct, they’d had enough. It took almost 5 years, but justice has prevailed.”