An Irvine-based real estate appraisal company has agreed to a $6 million settlement of a federal lawsuit involving hundreds of its workers who said they were wrongly denied overtime pay, an attorney for the employees said Wednesday.
The class action lawsuit, which was filed in December 2017, alleged CoreLogic real estate appraisers were not receiving all of their overtime as well as meal and rest periods, attorney Bryan Schwartz said.
The appraisers’ salaries are dependent on an “efficiency metric,” but when they reported overtime or missed meals “it made them look less efficient, which reduced their compensation,” Schwartz said.
When U.S. District Judge David O. Carter certified a class action lawsuit nationally, 377 workers joined the litigation, Schwartz said. That prompted the company to file a motion to compel arbitration, which Carter granted.
The arbitration included 250 of the plaintiffs, Schwartz said, adding, “the company didn’t expect we would file those individual arbitration claims.”
Facing 160 cases of arbitration throughout the nation, it “was a gigantic nightmare for them, and they were doing everything they could think of to avoid paying for all of those arbitration cases, because they have to bear all of those costs,” Schwartz said.
When the company began battling the arbitration cases it had requested, Carter sanctioned the company, ordering CoreLogic to pay $86,355.62 in legal fees to Schwartz and his co-counsel Nichols Kaster, Schwartz said.
The $6 million settlement amounts to about $7,000 for each of the workers, Schwartz said.
“This should stand as a cautionary tale for companies that just having an arbitration clause is not the be-all, end-all and may not be the panacea they were looking for,” Schwartz said.
Messages left with the company’s attorneys and public relations representatives were not immediately returned.
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