The parties in a class action lawsuit concerning overtime pay, meal breaks and other wage and hour claims have reached a settlement.

The settlement calls for Countrywide Home Loans Inc. to pay $30 million to settle the claims of a class of approximately 400 account executives who worked at Countrywides California call center in Rosemead, during a seven-year period.

It covers claims for unpaid overtime wages, reimbursement of wage deductions, compensation for on-duty meal periods, attorneys fees and related items.

Countrywide has also agreed to reclassify all of its California call center account executives as non-exempt from state and federal overtime and other wage and hour laws.

Countrywide Home Loans is a provider of residential mortgages. The account executives involved in the case respond to consumer telephone inquiries about home loan products and help them to select and apply for the most appropriate product.

The class is represented by the law firm of Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen and Dardarian.

Countrywide has done the right thing by agreeing to provide significant back pay relief to this group of California call center employees and reclassify them so the workers receive overtime and meal breaks on a going forward basis, said Linda M. Dardarian, a partner at law firm and lead counsel for the class in this case.

This settlement shows Countrywides commitment to the important family values embodied in the overtime laws, which are designed to protect the health and welfare of workers and their families, she added.

Countrywide spokeswoman Susan Martin said the companies consistent policy has been to classify employees as required by law.

While the company continues to believe that its original classification of account executives was lawful and that it would have been upheld at trial, it decided to settle in order to avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigation, she said. This settlement permits both its account executives and managers to focus on their primary concern, providing the best service to the consumer.

The settlement agreement has received preliminary approval from Judge Victor H. Person of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. It will go into effect if the court grants final approval after an additional hearing.



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