Judge greenlights $5.9M unpaid overtime Citrix wage deal

Agreement will settle claims the company failed to compensate staff for all the hours they worked

A federal judge in North Carolina has authorized a $5.9 million settlement agreement between Citrix and workers who launched a pair of consolidated unpaid overtime suits against the workspace software giant.

The case is a borged class action suit launched by two former Citrix sales representatives who claimed staffers were prey to a "systemic, company-wide failure" to compensate them for "all hours worked and for overtime hours worked at the appropriate overtime rate."

Among other allegations, the suits claimed the company misclassified "hourly, nonexempt employees" as salaried-exempt, regardless of the employees' duties or hourly compensation. Basically, they argued, they were categorized as being exempt from the the state's Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules, which dictate that nonexempt staffers should get time-and-a-half for overtime.

Both suits included claims that Citrix failed to compensate sales reps and other staffers in North Carolina for all the hours they worked, including work before and after their official shifts and working through lunch breaks.

Citrix continues to deny the claims and allegations in both of the suits, as well as denying any wrongdoing when making the settlement. It maintains that it at all times paid employees properly and fairly under the law.

According to the first complaint [PDF], filed by Danielle Cirillo in 2020, Citrix:

... required Plaintiffs to report only scheduled shift times on timesheets and automatically deducting one hour for a 'lunch break.' Plaintiffs were forbidden from documenting any time spent performing pre-shift tasks, such as turning on computers, logging into programs, and preparing their workstation for each shift; time spent working during "lunch breaks," including, but not limited to, speaking with clients and going through demonstrations with prospective buyers; and time spent working after scheduled shifts times, including, but not limited to, phone calls that occurred at various hours in the evening with prospective customers located in various time zones.

Cirillo, who filed the 2020 suit, had originally also alleged a violation of state laws and wrongful discharge, but Citrix was granted a dismissal on those claims. Sabrina Stiles, who had originally been a member of Cirillo's suit, filed her own FLSA claim in February this year.

The original complaints, Cirillo v Citrix – later amended [PDF] –  and Stiles v Citrix Systems [PDF], were consolidated in May this year [PDF].

The company and the plaintiffs have been in mediation since January 2022.

At a final approval hearing in December this year, the court will also determine what amount attorneys' fees and costs should be awarded as well as service awards for the plaintiffs. Besides approving the settlement, judge Terence Boyle on Friday asked the legal team to further explain why they should get $2 million out of the $5.9 million pot – approx one-third of the award – when the going average is 25-30 percent. In a third order, he also questioned $150,000 in service fee awards requested by lead plaintiffs Cirillo ($100k) and Stiles ($50k), saying they hadn't handed in an estimate of hours that helped their counsel with the case.

Each class member who returns a claim form will be entitled to receive a share of the settlement, with the minimum payment being $100, according to the settlement document. ®

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