PetSmart Settles With Groomers for $10M

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge preliminarily approved a class action settlement over claims PetSmart doesn’t pay its pet stylists accurately.
     Four employees sued the company in 2012 claiming California stylists only make money from commission and could be “commissioned out,” meaning when they make more money grooming than they would with their regular hourly rate they are assigned unpaid grooming tasks.
     They also claimed they are not paid for meal and rest breaks or vacation time.
     “This is a great result for the 19,700 current and former employees of Petsmart in California,” plaintiffs’ attorney Graham Hollis said. “As a result of this litigation the groomers will receive a fair settlement for the unpaid work they performed and we are happy that PetSmart has changed the way pet stylists are compensated so that they now being paid for all hours worked.”
     Hollis said each employee will receive an average of $645, with some employees receiving “much more with the maximum payout exceeding $15,000.”
     According to the complaint, pet stylists are not given tools or reimbursed for the ones they bought.
     Under the settlement, PetSmart agreed to reimburse the class members and emphasize accurate wages and absolutely no off-the-clock work without informing a manager in the stores. Employees who are interrupted during their breaks will also be given additional time, according to the complaint.
     U.S. District Judge Edward Davila found the settlement fair and reasonable in a 25-page order granting preliminary approval of the settlement and settlement class. He also the plaintiffs’ $2.7 million percent attorney fee request valid.
     “From class counsel’s perspective, they assume great risk in pursuing wage-and-hour actions where a substantial variance between employees can exist, and thus threaten the viability of the case,” the complaint says. “That class counsel, here, was able to obtain a favorable settlement agreement is commendable.”
     PetSmart attorney Sophia Behnia declined to comment on the settlement.

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