The federal district court in California recently granted final approval for a $3 million settlement in a wage dispute brought by Redfin real estate agents. The lawsuit, known as Bell v. Redfin Corp., involved allegations that Redfin misclassified agents as independent contractors and failed to pay proper wages, overtime, and premiums.
The class action complaint, filed on November 20, 2020, included various claims such as unpaid overtime, regular wages, minimum wages, meal and rest period premiums, waiting time penalties, inaccurate wage statements, willful misclassification, and violations of California Business and Professions Code § 17200 and PAGA.
Redfin employed agents under two structures—Employee Agents and Associate Agents— during the class period between November 20, 2016, and December 31, 2022. Due to the alleged misclassification of Associate Agents as independent contractors, Redfin allegedly failed to pay wages owed, including overtime and regular hours at the correct wage rate.
The settlement, which was independently approved by the court, required Redfin to pay $3 million. The funds were allocated for various purposes, including class representatives’ enhancement payments, class counsel fees, costs, a PAGA award, and settlement administration costs. After accounting for these, approximately $1,837,500 remained for distribution among the 2,754 participating class members.
Before granting final approval, the court confirmed the certification of the class and found that class members received adequate notice. The court deemed the settlement fair, reasonable, and adequate, with only 15 class members opting for exclusion, no objections, and seven resolved disputes.
Regarding attorneys’ fees, the court acknowledged its independent obligation to ensure reasonableness, even if the parties agreed on an amount. Class counsel requested $1,000,000, equivalent to one-third of the settlement, which the court approved, considering it reasonable and consistent with awards in other class action lawsuits within the Ninth Circuit.
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