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Plaintiffs Seek Court Approval in $5.4M Employment Class Action

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


On January 4, 2019, a $5.4 million settlement was submitted to Northern California District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers for preliminary approval. The settlement will bring to a close class claims alleging that defendant ABM Services Inc. (“ABM”), violated Section 2802 of the California Labor Code, the Private Attorneys General Act and the Unfair Business Practices Act, when it required its employees to use personal cell phones for work-related purposes without reimbursement.

The suit was originally filed by ABM janitors Marley Castro and Lucia Marmolejo in Alameda County Superior Court on October 24, 2014. The named plaintiffs filed suit on behalf of a class of around 34,000 cleaners who were employed by the defendant to perform janitorial services at office buildings, schools, hospitals, manufacturing plants and airports throughout the state of California. According to the plaintiffs, cleaners were required by their employer to use personal cell phones for work-related communications with supervisors and for clocking in and out of ABM’s timekeeping system.

Pending court approval, the $5.4 million settlement consists of $1,350,000 in attorney’s fees and up to $110,000 in litigation costs; up to $125,000 for settlement administration; $330,000 paid to the California Labor and Workplace Development Agency; and $10,000 to each of the named plaintiffs. The remaining net settlement fund of $3,465,000 will be distributed to the class, which is comprised of all non-exempt hourly workers employed as cleaners by ABM Services in California from October 24, 2010 through the date of preliminary approval of the settlement. Class members will be split into two categories based on their experience with ABM with claims either being made under Section 2802 of the California Labor Code or the Private Attorneys General Act. Class members with claims made under the Private Attorneys General Act will receive an award of at least $20 and class members with a claim under Section 2802 will receive an award of at least $56. According to court documents most class members qualify under both categories.

The case is: Marley Castro et al. v. ABM Industries Inc. et al., Case No.: 4:17-cv-03026, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.


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