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Grocery Firms Settle Lawsuit on Overtime Pay for Janitors

June 26, 2004|From Bloomberg News

Albertson's Inc., Safeway Inc. and Kroger Co. resolved a lawsuit that claimed the supermarkets knowingly allowed subcontracting companies to deny California workers overtime compensation, according to court papers.

The companies reached a preliminary settlement, which needs to be approved by U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson in Los Angeles. Its terms weren't described in court documents.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a lawsuit in 2000 against the stores and janitorial service provider Encompass Services Inc. The suit, which received class-action status in 2001, claimed that potentially thousands of California janitors worked excessive hours without receiving days off or overtime pay, in violation of state and federal labor laws.

A trial in the case had been scheduled to begin next week.

J.C. Flores, an attorney for MALDEF, said the group "is not announcing anything right now."

Stacia Levenfeld, spokeswoman for Boise, Idaho-based Albertson's, said the company didn't comment on pending litigation.

Terry O'Neil, spokesman for Ralphs Grocery Co., a unit of Cincinnati-based Kroger, declined to comment, as did Brian Dowling, spokesman for Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway.

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