Longs Drug Stores Inc. says it has agreed to pay $11 million in tentative settlements
of two lawsuits alleging the company violated California wage and hour law,
the Associated Press reports.
In the lawsuits, store managers in California accused the company of misclassifying
them as exempt from overtime pay.
In agreeing to settle the lawsuits, the drugstore chain denied any wrongdoing,
the news service notes.
"While the company denies all liability in these cases, it has agreed
to the settlement in order to resolve all of the plaintiffs' claims without
engaging in protracted litigation," says William J. Rainey, a senior vice
president and general counsel at the company. "Given the unique aspects
of California wage and hour laws, which differ significantly from federal and
other state laws, we believe this settlement is in the company's best interest."
A court must approve the settlements of the overtime lawsuits.
On the federal level, overtime lawsuits have been on the rise. A recent study
by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts found that the number of class-action
lawsuits alleging employers violated federal overtime rules increased from 31
in 1997 to 102 in 2003.