Chief U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster on Monday told attorneys for Guy Vines, the black worker, and the company he sued in January, Warren, Ohio-based Covelli Enterprises, to advertise the settlement in newspapers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Kentucky and West Virginia, where Covelli operates Panera stores.
Vines sued claiming he was denied promotions and made to work in the kitchen because company owner Sam Covelli didn’t want black employees in areas where the public was served. About 200 to 300 black workers may be entitled to money, Vines’ attorney, Samuel Cordes told the judge.
According to online court records, Vines will receive $10,000 for being the lead plaintiff and Cordes will receive $66,000 in legal fees. In addition, Covelli must pay a yet-to-be determined amount based on how many current and former employees respond to the advertisements and file claims.
Those workers will get 70 cents an hour for each hour they worked in excess of one year at any of Covelli’s Panera’s stores. That’s based upon how much money Covelli’s workers stood to gain had they been promoted after their first year.
The settlement covers all current or former black employees who worked for Covelli for at least a year between Jan. 11, 2008 and Jan. 11, 2012 – the day Vines filed his lawsuit. Vines contends he was hired in November 2009 and quit in August 2011 over his alleged mistreatment.
Cordes and Covelli’s attorney, Brad Funari, declined to comment after the hearing.
Covelli continues to deny wrongdoing as part of the settlement. read more…