On Tuesday, Judge Judith Herrera of the District of New Mexico issued an opinion and order approving a settlement in Medrano v. Flowers Food, Inc. et al. after the plaintiffs argued that Flowers Food failed to properly compensate them for their base pay and their overtime hours.
In 2016, Paul Medrano filed a lawsuit on behalf of him and other employees of Flowers Food, where he alleged that they not only were improperly compensated for 40 hours of base pay per week, but never received any overtime pay. He claimed that the workers were forced to register as “independent contractors” which robbed them of the rights that full time employees have based on state and federal law.
Medrano, per the complaint, was “not permitted to determine his own schedule or the manner in which he worked,” exemplified by how during his wife’s funeral “a manager from Flowers called him on his cell phone and demanded that he return to work immediately.” Workers were classified as “distributors” that had to “pay all maintenance and fuel cost for what amounted to a company vehicle and warehouse rent,” with them working approximately 128 hours per week.
In the settlement, Flowers Food has to pay a gross amount of $137,500 of which six plaintiffs who are currently distributors will receive $3,500 each, and all nine plaintiffs will receive $9,000 each. Also, $35,500 will be paid as attorney’s fees and costs. The court found the settlement fair and reasonable, and the plaintiffs will receive overtime compensation “without the risk, expense, and heartache that comes with protracted litigation.”