(Reuters) — Home Depot has agreed to pay $72.5 million to end a long-running class-action lawsuit alleging the largest U.S. home improvement retailer underpaid workers in California.
The preliminary settlement was filed late Thursday in federal court in San Francisco and requires a judge’s approval.
Half of the settlement, after taking out attorneys’ fees and costs, goes to hourly employees who worked closing shifts and had to wait around the clock after stores closed.
Another 41% goes to employees who were not paid for time needed to collect and put on aprons, and 9% goes to employees who lost wages because Home Depot rounded its check-in and check-out times to the nearest quarter.
The settlement covers more than 272,000 people employed by Home Depot in California since March 8, 2012, and is “fair, reasonable and adequate,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said.
Home Depot denied wrongdoing, but decided to avoid the burden, expense and uncertainty of litigation, court papers show.
The Atlanta-based retailer said Friday it was pleased to settle, so it could focus on serving employees and customers.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The trial began in March 2016 and a trial had been scheduled for this year.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs plan to seek up to $24.2 million, or one-third of the settlement amount, in legal fees, plus up to $3.5 million in costs.
The case is Utne v. Home Depot USA Inc.US District Court, Northern District of California.