Overtime Claims Against Kraft Settle for $900K

     (CN) – Kraft Foods can pay $900,000 to settle claims that it misclassified route salespeople as nonexempt and did not pay them overtime, a federal judge ruled.
     Lead plaintiff Gilbert Salinas denied Kraft’s assertion that the job of a route salesperson is “similar to managing their own business,” and therefore qualifies as a position exempt from overtime pay and rest breaks.
     Salinas claimed that such employees spent most of their time driving from store to store and checking inventory, duties that do not meet any known test for exemption. The salespeople had little time for actual sales, or taking meal or rest breaks, the according to the class action in the Northern District of California.
     Earlier this year, Salinas told the court that Kraft had agreed to settle by paying the approximately 131-member class $900,000, plus costs and attorneys’ fees. The deal entitled Salinas to take home an enhancement award of up to $5,000.
     Each member of the class would be entitled meanwhile to a pro rata portion of the settlement fund, which will be calculated based on the number of weeks the employee worked during the settlement period, divided by the total number of workweeks worked by all class members during the same period.
     U.S. District Judge William Orrick granted the deal preliminary approval Monday.

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