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11/30/2004

Judge rules in favor of Cintas workers

Judge Rules Cintas CEO Improperly Discouraged Workers From Joining Lawsuit
Thousands Of Current And Former Route Drivers To Be Notified That Cintas Cannot Retaliate Against Law Suit Participants

(Washington, D.C.) – A federal judge in the Northern District of California has found a letter sent from Cintas CEO, Scott Farmer, that was intended to discourage workers from joining a lawsuit aimed at recovering millions of dollars in unpaid overtime was improper. The judge has taken the unusual steps of ordering a corrective notice be sent to Cintas drivers and extending the date for Cintas employees to sign on to the lawsuit.

In April 2004, Cintas was ordered to notify thousands of current and former Cintas route drivers of their right to join a lawsuit charging that drivers may have been misclassified as exempt from overtime in violation of federal law. To date, over 2,100 current and former drivers in over 40 states have joined the suit. But in June, many Cintas drivers received letters from Cintas CEO, Scott Farmer, charging that the suit was “baseless.” In a November 12, 2004 decision, the court ordered the company to send out a notice clarifying the letter from the CEO and gave Cintas employees until January 14, 2005 to join the lawsuit.

The corrective notice reads in part, “You may have received a letter on or around June 18th, 2004 from Cintas’ CEO Scott Farmer regarding the lawsuit. Because this letter contained language that may have created some confusion or misunderstanding, the Court has ordered this Corrective Notice to be sent to you to eliminate any possible confusion caused by Mr. Farmer’s letter.” The corrective notice continues, “Cintas may not retaliate against you for choosing to join this lawsuit.”

Cintas settled a similar overtime lawsuit filed by California drivers for $10 million in February 2003. The current suit, covering drivers nationwide, could cost Cintas up to $100 million.

For more information on the lawsuit go to www.cintasovertime.com, or call 1-800-851-7783.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million members throughout North America. UNITE HERE and the Teamsters represent more than 1/3 of workers in the uniform and laundry industry.

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