A California judge has given final approval to a $78 million settlement from air ambulance provider Air Methods to settle unpaid overtime claims from flight crews based there. The settlement comes seven years after employees initiated a class action suit against the nation's largest air ambulance provider in Alameda County Superior Court, charging that the company “failed to pay wages and overtime, failure to provide rest and meal breaks or to pay compensation in lieu of such breaks, failure to pay timely wages on termination, failure to provide accurate wage statements, and unlawful business practices and unfair competition within the jurisdiction of the state of California.”
The effect of the settlement is to raise crew wages by 20 percent, with each plaintiff receiving an average payment of more than $100,000. The settlement had received preliminary judicial approval in July. Air Methods’ employees typically work 24-hour shifts.
In a statement, Air Methods said, “it was time to put these issues to rest and do what is best is for our California clinicians and Air Methods. These changes are focused on how we treat uninterrupted sleep time under state overtime requirements, our approach to California daily and weekly overtime, and meal and rest periods.”