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Rialto settles employees’ overtime lawsuit for roughly $2.9 million

By in Press Enterprise on December 1, 2017

By Joe Nelson

The city of Rialto has settled an overtime lawsuit involving 226 of its employees for more than $2.9 million, according to the attorney representing the employees.

The federal lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in July and amended in September, alleged the city failed to pay the plaintiffs overtime at “one and one-half times their regular rate of pay” by not including cashed-out portions of employees’ unused medical benefits, as required by law.

Attorney Dieter Dammeier, who represents the employees in the lawsuit, said in a press release Thursday that the case stemmed from a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in 2016, which held that an employer must include cash payments made in lieu of benefits when calculating an employee’s overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA.

But in the three years prior to Dammeier’s filing of the lawsuit on behalf of the more than 200 Rialto employees, the city failed to include the cash-out portions of the employees’ unused medical benefits, thereby undercutting them on overtime, according to the lawsuit, which according to court records settled on Monday, Nov. 27 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, before Judge Manuel L. Real.

Neither Rialto City Attorney Fred Galante nor Assistant City Attorney Pam K. Lee could immediately be reached for comment.

Dammeier said in his press release that, to the city’s credit, it moved forward quickly to settle the lawsuit after reviewing the case law. He called it a “win win for the city, employees and taxpayers.”

“The employees were happy to get paid quickly and in exchange did not pursue the double damages they would be entitled to had the case progressed in litigation,” Dammeier said.

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