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Gutierrez v. Schmid Insulation Contractors

Feinberg, Jackson, Worthman & Wasow attorneys Todd Jackson and Catha Worthman, along with MALDEF and other firms, recovered $8.5 million in wages for construction workers who alleged they were forced to work off the clock. Too often, workers in the construction industry are taken advantage of by employers who do not pay all wages due. When a group of mostly Spanish-speaking immigrant workers came forward alleging they were being routinely underpaid, like many others they did not have the financial means to fight for their unpaid wages individually.

Todd Jackson and Catha Worthman, along with co-counsel Sullivan Taketa LLP and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), filed suit on behalf of the underpaid workers against the California residential construction company Masco Contractor Services of California, Inc., as well as related entities Western Insulation, L.P. and Schmid Insulation Contractors, Inc.

The workers claimed multiple violations of California law: failure to pay for travel time from offices to construction sites, being forced to work through meal and rest breaks, payment in illegal piece rates that even included “negative bonuses” when quotas were not met, and unpaid overtime. They also asserted a record-keeping claim on the grounds that they had to sign time sheets even if they disputed the hours recorded. The employers denied all the charges, but agreed to a settlement after Lewis Feinberg and co-counsel filed a class certification motion with detailed declarations in Spanish and English by well over 50 workers.

Over 1,000 workers shared in the $8.5 million settlement, which was approved by the federal district court for the Central District of California in 2009.

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