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US – Robert Half Settlement Results in $11.4 Million Charge

July 09 2012

Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE: RHI) struck a deal to settle three wage and hour lawsuits brought by account executives and staffing managers in California, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal will result in the Menlo Park, Calif.-based professional staffing firm taking an after-tax charge of $11.4 million in the second quarter.

The company entered a memorandum of understanding to settle the lawsuit on July 5. The settlement must still be approved by the court.

Cases involved include groups of employees, but the named plaintiffs in the three cases were Mark Laffitte, Isabel Apolinario and Van Williamson. All cases were filed in California Superior Court.

The Laffitte case claimed that account executives and staffing managers based in California were misclassified as exempt and sought unpaid overtime, according to a 10-K filing by Robert Half. The Apolinario and Williamson cases were similar. The Williamson case alleged that account executives and staffing managers in California were not provided meal periods, rest breaks or accurate itemized wage statements.

The settlement covers the period from September 2000 to present. Robert Half reported the majority of the settlement amount relates to 2007 and prior.

The company expects to save money on defense costs by settling the case. Robert Half also reported it has taken steps to reduce risk in this area in the future. For example, the company said it entered into new employment agreements with most of its employees in 2012, and those new agreements require individual arbitration of claims.

The Laffitte case was first filed on Sept. 10, 2004. The Apolinario case was first filed Feb. 23, 2011, and the Williamson case was filed Sept. 24, 2007.

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