Air Methods Corporation, a medical helicopter service that operates in California, must pay $78 million to employees as part of a settlement reached in a class-action lawsuit brought against the company. The lawsuit alleged that Air Methods violated wage and hour law by not paying overtime owed to employees. The suit also claimed that it was routine for employees to work through breaks.
Air Methods is the largest medical transport company operating in the United States. The company maintains helicopter bases that it uses to dispatch medical teams where help is needed. The teams often provide medical assistance during emergencies that take place in remote locations.
The company is accused of denying its workers overtime pay even though crews sometimes worked 24-hour shifts. Employees complain that they were not allowed to take a break from duties for meals or rest during their shifts. The final approval for the settlement is expected in a few months. Each current or former employee who is part of the action is set to receive about $100,000.
A Superior Court Judge in Alameda County accepted the settlement agreement between the company and 450 former or current employees. The agreement also states that Air Methods will pay all overtime due to current employees going forward. The additional money is expected to amount to a 20% increase in salary for the workers.
Wage and hour issues are a complicated area of law, and it can be difficult for workers to know if they are being properly compensated for their time, expertise and labor. Individuals who feel that they are not receiving proper compensation from their employer may benefit from consulting with an attorney who handles wage and hour cases, as well as class actions and other representative actions on behalf of California employees.