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Former Taco Bell workers in Oregon have won a class-action lawsuit alleging time cards were doctored so managers could falsely boost productivity and get bonuses. The Multnomah County jury verdict, handed down Friday, was announced Monday at a press conference by an attorney for 1,300 former employees who sued Taco Bell, seeking back pay and penalties. Lawyer Paul Breed said the award could run into millions when damages are set later this year. Bob Weaver, a lawyer representing Taco Bell, said he would ask the judge to review the verdict before deciding whether to appeal. On Monday, former Taco Bell supervisors said they had been pressured by Taco Bell managers to shave hours off employees’ time cards. “Upper management taught me how to do it,” said Brandi Bravo, who initiated the suit. “I feared upper management. I was a single mother. I knew if I didn’t keep labor where it had to be at, then somebody else would have my job and I wouldn’t have one.” Judi Christensen, also a former shift supervisor, said managers made it clear they needed supervisors to keep payroll to a minimum so managers could meet productivity guidelines that would earn them $30,000 to $50,000 bonuses at the end of the year. Breed said jurors found there was systematic abuse of hourly employees at company-owned Taco Bell restaurants across Oregon from 1993 through 1996. Weaver said there was no systematic abuse, and that Taco Bell responded quickly when it was made aware of isolated complaints by firing some managers. A similar lawsuit is pending in California. Another case in Washington state settled in 1997, resulting in nearly $3 million in payments to more than 2,100 current and former workers. Taco Bell is part of Tricon Global Restaurants Inc., based in Louisville, Ky. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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