A federal judge in San Francisco has approved a $1.5 million settlement for more than 1,200 employees of Terminix, the giant pest-control company, who contended they were wrongfully denied overtime. The employees alleged in a May 2008 lawsuit that they worked long hours without overtime, rest breaks and meal periods while out on termite inspection calls. All of the employees were training to be termite inspectors.
Terminix claimed that since termite inspections were actually sales activities, they weren’t subject to state overtime regulations. Also, it said the inspections are often free. Terminix makes money if the potential customer agrees to buy follow-up services or products. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, who rejected the company’s argument in June, has now approved the settlement. I found the Terminix argument that inspections were actually “sales activities” to be most interesting. I always thought the inspection by Terminix and other pest control companies were to find out if a structure had a termite problem.
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