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PPG Settles Employee Pay Lawsuit

Monday, January 25, 2016

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PPG Industries will pay $5 million to settle claims filed by current and former employees who said they were misclassified as exempt while performing paint-related sales work at Home Depot stores.

The complaint—a class action federal lawsuit filed in September 2013 in the Northern District of California—alleges that PPG owed them overtime pay because the Pittsburgh-based coatings giant misclassified them as “exempt” employees.

However, employees said, they did not have any managerial duties. Instead, according to the claim, they spent their days stocking, straightening and selling architectural coating products.

©iStock.com / AndreyPopov

PPG Industries will pay $5 million to settle claims filed by current and former employees who said they were misclassified as exempt while performing paint-related sales work at Home Depot stores.

U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick ruled Jan. 6 that the proposed deal “appears, upon preliminary review, to be fair, reasonable and adequate.” The judge entered the final order that day.

“PPG is aware of the court’s decision,” said Mark Silvey, PPG’s corporate and U.S. media spokesman, in an emailed statement received Friday (Jan. 22).

“Core to PPG’s values is respect for the dignity, rights and contributions of its employees.”

Complaint Allegations

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs and members of the class were Akzo Nobel employees until April 2013, when they became employees of PPG. As previously reported, PPG purchased Akzo Nobel’s North American decorative coating business in December 2012.

The plaintiffs said in their claim that they worked as “business development representatives” (known now as “territory managers”) and were paid as salaried employees.

©iStock.com / jerry2313

In addition to the $5 million awarded to plaintiffs and attorneys, PPG agreed to make a separate payment to cover payroll taxes, according to the agreement.

However, under the federal guidelines for employees, they should have been paid an hourly rate with overtime pay for any hours exceeding 40 per week, the complaint says.

Settlement Terms

In the settlement agreement, PPG denied the allegations and admitted to no wrongdoing. However, the company also said it did not oppose the settlement, which followed the lines of the parties’ mediation in August 2015.

In addition to the $5 million awarded to plaintiffs and attorneys, PPG agreed to make a separate payment to cover payroll taxes, according to the agreement.

Of the $5 million, about $1.7 million will go toward attorney fees and the cost of the litigation; the named representatives of the class, who brought the action to court, will get $5,000 apiece; and the rest of the 106 class members will spilt the remaining $3.17 million.

Class members who collect under the settlement also must not have additional claims filed elsewhere, the order says.

   

Tagged categories: AkzoNobel; Business matters; Business operations; Ethics; Laws and litigation; Lawsuits; PPG

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