Mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. has settled a second lawsuit brought by employees who claimed they were misclassified as managers and denied overtime.
Employees who worked for Countrywide's Full Spectrum Lending unit in Rosemead, Simi Valley, Pasadena and Van Nuys will share the $7.5-million settlement, minus $1.9 million for attorney fees.
The deal was tentatively approved in March by a U.S. District Court judge in Texas. It stemmed from a class action filed in 2003 by employees of Full Spectrum, which specializes in loans to borrowers with poor credit.
Details of the settlement agreement -- including the number of workers affected -- were sealed by the court. Plaintiffs' attorneys did not return calls seeking comment.
In a statement, Calabasas-based Countrywide said it acted lawfully but "decided to settle in order to avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigation." Company lawyers declined to elaborate.
Last month, the firm agreed to resolve a similar class action for $30 million affecting more than 400 employees of two of its Southern California call centers.
Plaintiffs' attorneys in both cases argued that workers -- despite being given a title of "account executive" -- spent most of their time on nonmanagerial tasks. Thus, the attorneys contended, the employees were entitled to pay for time worked beyond eight hours a day.
According to a claim notice sent to Full Spectrum personnel, employees will be eligible to receive "an amount equal to at least $82.50 for each week worked" from November 1998 to last December.
A final approval hearing is set for July 11. Class members may opt out and pursue their own court claims.
Countrywide is the nation's largest mortgage lender. Its shares fell 15 cents to $35.40 on the New York Stock Exchange.