- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles City Council has finalized a $26 million payment to settle a lawsuit over a ban on lunchtime naps by garbage truck drivers.

The 9-2 vote on Tuesday resolved a class-action suit involving nearly 1,100 sanitation workers who said they were improperly barred from sleeping and engaging in other activities during their meal breaks, the Los Angeles Times reported (https://lat.ms/Y1nLuW ).

Councilman Paul Krekorian, who supported the payment, said in paperwork filed with the council that the city could have faced damages closer to $40 million had a settlement not been reached.

The Bureau of Sanitation prohibited naps to avoid bad publicity that could come if city employees were spotted snoozing. Lawyers for the drivers said the city, by limiting workers’ mealtime activities, had essentially robbed them of their meal breaks.

The rules “controlled where they could go, what they could do, who they could eat with, all sorts of things,” said attorney Matthew Taylor, who represented the drivers.

The rules also prohibited trash-truck drivers from congregating in large groups at restaurants or heading to dining spots outside their designated pickup routes.

Taylor said the settlement will provide an average of $15,000 in lost wages for each driver. As part of the deal, Taylor and other lawyers for the drivers will receive nearly $8.7 million in legal fees.

The Times reported in February that the council had endorsed the settlement. Krekorian said the settlement was not publicly announced earlier this year because it was not final and needed the approval of a judge.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com

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