On February 8, 2019, a $3.2 million settlement was submitted to Northern California federal court Judge Jeffrey S. White for preliminary approval, bringing an end to class claims that accused energy company Chevron Corp., of misclassifying drill-site managers as independent contractors.
The suit was originally filed on April 20, 2016, by named plaintiffs Christopher McQueen and James O’Neal. Additional named plaintiffs, Donnie Cummings and Michael Dyer, were added to the complaint in late 2016. The plaintiffs alleged that they were employed by Chevron as well-site or drill-site supervisors and that they often worked longer than their scheduled 12-hour shifts without receiving overtime premiums. Plaintiffs argued that Chevron violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by classifying these managers as independent contractors and failing to properly compensate them.
In the third amended complaint, the plaintiffs added claims under the Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”), which allows employees to file lawsuits to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees and the state of California for Labor Code violations. Under PAGA, employees must submit 75% of any recovery to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
According to the settlement agreement, the $3.2 million settlement amount will be divided between the 16 named and opt-in plaintiffs, 34 putative California class members and a PAGA representative group consisting of 37 members. If the settlement is granted court approval, each member of the settlement groups will receive an average of approximately $29,406. Additionally, the settlement seeks to award named plaintiff Michael Dryer $5,000 and $12,500 to named plaintiffs Christopher McQueen and James O’Neal as an incentive award.
The case is: McQueen et al. v. Chevron Corp., Case No.: 4:16-cv-02089, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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