AT&T Settles Overtime Claims of Ex-Manager

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A federal judge approved a settlement in a labor case against AT&T for alleged failure to pay overtime or provide meal and rest breaks.
     Cathy Birdsong originally brought the complaint as a class action in Alameda County Superior Court, and AT&T removed the case to federal court in December 2012.
     The complaint said AT&T misclassified Birdsong and other California business manager employees as "exempt" under California labor law, thus denying them overtime compensation and other benefits. Birdsong said most of her job duties consisted of work that did not trigger exempt status.
     U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson dismissed the case with leave to amend in March after noting that Birdsong had signed a general release and waiver of claims when she was fired in exchange for a severance allowance.
     The release provided that Birdsong would not participate in any class action against AT&T or file a claim against AT&T based on her employment or the termination of her employment. Because of the release, Birdsong was prohibited from bringing all of her claims under state law against AT&T.
     The only claim Henderson would allow Birdsong to bring in an amended complaint was her individual cause of action for misclassification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Instead of filing a new complaint, Birdsong began negotiating this claim with AT&T.
     Henderson approved the parties' settlement on May 13, 2013, and dismissed the case with prejudice, finding that the "compromise of plaintiff Cathy Birdsong's individual overtime, liquidated damages and attorneys' fees claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a fair and reasonable compromise of FLSA claims as to which there are bona fide disputes regarding liability."
     The terms of the settlement were not released.