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Pacific Bell has agreed to a $35 million settlement in an employee overtime case, ending a five-year class action involving 1,500 members. Filed in 1997 in San Francisco Superior Court, the suit alleged that Pacific Bell improperly classified the job descriptions of numerous managers and engineers, thereby exempting them from overtime pay. While every hourly paid employee is entitled to overtime pay, only certain types of salaried employees can receive overtime pay under federal and California laws. The case was submitted to mediation last May. San Francisco attorney Mark Thierman, who represented the plaintiffs, and Pillsbury Winthrop, which represented Pacific Bell, both declined to comment. The $35 million settlement is believed to be the biggest white-collar overtime settlement in the state. “I’m not aware of any class action settlement in California history exceeding that amount,” said San Francisco attorney Edward Wynne. There have been a slew of similar suits filed in California over the past few years. In fact, Thierman settled a suit involving 600 salespeople with PacBell for $27.8 million in 1997. A hearing for final court approval on this week’s settlement is scheduled for March 15.

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