Brown, former student dining services workers agree to $620K settlement over wages

BROWN UNIVERSITY and current and former student dining-services workers, not shown, have reached a $620,000 settlement over a federal lawsuit that accused Brown of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. Despite the preliminary settlement, Brown denies any wrongdoing in the case. / COURTESY BROWN UNIVERSITY
BROWN UNIVERSITY and current and former student dining-services workers, not shown, have reached a $620,000 settlement over a federal lawsuit that accused Brown of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. Despite the preliminary settlement, Brown denies any wrongdoing in the case. / COURTESY BROWN UNIVERSITY

PROVIDENCE – Brown University has agreed to pay $620,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by current and former student dining-services workers who accused Brown of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay students for “on-call” work.

The settlement has not received final approval in U.S. District Court, but a joint statement from the students and the university said, “Brown believes the legal actions have no merit, while the students maintain they were not appropriately compensated for the full extent of work performed.”

“An amicable resolution” was reached “to eliminate the burden, risk and expense of further litigation,” the statement said.

The settlement, given preliminary approval by U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell Jr. last week, applies to current and former students who joined the class-action lawsuit and worked as supervisors, assistant managers and managers in the Blue Room dining area on campus, as well as carts and cashier units, between January 2016 and October 2018.

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Brown student Maxwell D. Kozlov first complained to the state Department of Labor and Training about the lack of payment for “on-call” hours by the Brown University Dining Services program. Then Kozlov and fellow student Benjamin D. Bosis filed a federal lawsuit in January.

Seventeen other people joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs, according to court documents.

According to the terms of the preliminary settlement, $300,000 will go to former student dining-services supervisors who are part of the lawsuit, while $150,000 will go to the managers. Another $165,000 will be paid to the plantiffs’ lawyers, and $5,000 will be divided equally between Kozlov and Bosis, according to the agreement.

A Brown spokesman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment late Tuesday afternoon. The terms of the settlement call for both sides to limit public comment on the matter.

“Student workers will remain an essential part of dining operations at Brown,” the joint statement said. “For those students who seek campus employment, Brown remains committed to ensuring experiences that enable students to effectively balance their academic study and other activities with their employment.”

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