Panera Bread Settles Class Action

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – Panera Bread Co. will pay more than $671,000 to settle a federal class action accusing it of misclassifying managers as exempt from overtime.

     Named plaintiff Pati Johns sued in California in February 2008. Johns claimed that general managers spent most of their time performing non-exempt duties such as working the cash register, preparing food and sanitizing the cooking and dining areas. The case was transferred to St. Louis in July 2008 after Panera argued that the Midwest venue would be more convenient for witnesses.
     U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton signed the final settlement order. It calls for Panera to pay $500,000 to a Gross Settlement Fund; $146,887.10 for attorneys’ fees; $25,000 to The Garden City Group to cover costs of administration of the agreement; $7,500 to Johns; and $1,000 to the State of California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

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