Papa John’s has agreed to pay $3.4 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by workers who claim that the pizza chain violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and California and New York wage and hour laws by not paying them to take mandatory training sessions. Class members who work or worked at restaurants owned by Papa John’s will get a cash payment of $166 according to media reports. Class members employed by the Kentucky-based pizza company’s franchisees will receive gift cards worth $50. The settlement must be approved by a federal judge before any money is paid.

Unpaid mandatory online training

The wage and hour lawsuit was filed by workers who were unhappy about not being compensated for taking online training sessions that they were told to complete while off duty. The Papa John’s corporate website states that its employees are paid during training. Federal and state laws consider mandated training sessions as work time even if they take place outside normal shift times. The modest payments that class members will receive is based on the amount they would have earned if they had been paid to complete the 20 or so hours of training.

Papa John’s blames franchisees for failing to follow company guidelines

Attorneys representing Papa John’s argued that the pizza chain should not be held responsible for the actions of franchisees and managers who ignored company policies and violated federal and state labor laws. The class members responded by pointing out that workers at corporate locations were also not paid to complete the training. By settling the case, Papa John’s avoids a potentially long and costly legal battle while not admitting to any wrongdoing.

Representing workers in wage and hour disputes

Wage and hour disputes may be certified as class actions if a large number of employees suffered harm, but that does not mean every affected worker must become a class member. If you could be entitled to more damages than other class members, an attorney with experience in this area may suggest that you opt out of a class action and file an individual lawsuit instead.