Sunday, January 24, 2021
Jan. 24, 2021

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Les Schwab will pay $16 million to Oregon employees to settle class-action over lunch breaks


More than 3,700 Les Schwab Tire Centers employees in Oregon are due to receive $2,500 checks this month as part of a settlement over a 2017 class-action lawsuit that alleged the chain hadn’t given workers enough time for lunch.

The suit alleged the Schwab employees hadn’t received the full, 30-minute lunch breaks that Oregon law requires for hourly employees. The Bend-based company continues to maintain that it provides the requisite lunch breaks but agreed to pay $16 million to settle the case anyway.

The two plaintiffs who brought the case will receive $15,000 each and 25 others who submitted declarations in support of the lawsuit will receive a $1,000, in addition to the regular $2,500 payment. The plaintiffs’ attorneys will receive $3.9 million.

“At Les Schwab, we believe in treating our employees fairly and providing opportunities for them to not just have a job, but also to build a career with our company. Our employees are at the center of what we do and the reputation we have built,” Dale Thompson, Schwab’s chief marketing officer, said in a written statement. “If you live in a town with a Les Schwab Tire Center, or you’ve been to one of our stores, you know we don’t just sell tires and brakes. We take pride in doing the right thing.”

Les Schwab is one of Oregon’s biggest companies, with annual sales of $1.8 billion. It has nearly 500 stores in 10 western states. In September, the family-owned company announced plans to sell to a California investment firm.

The court will mail the settlements directly to eligible employees and former employees. Checks that aren’t cashed within 90 days will be redirected to a legal services fun run by the Oregon State Bar.