Abercrombie to Pay $25 Million to Employees They Forced to Buy Clothes

After nearly five years of litigation, Abercrombie has agreed to a $25 million settlement with current and former employees that “were forced to purchase branded apparel to wear while at work.”

As reported by WWD, nearly 260,000 employees were represented in the lawsuit, which was filed in 2013.

Of that $25 million, $16.68 million will be “available for disbursements, $7.5 million will go to plaintiffs’ attorney fees,” while nearly another $1 million will go to the costs associated with the process (for those playing the home game, that comes to an average of about $64 per plaintiff, but a win’s a win).

Hailing primarily from California, Florida, Massachusetts and New York, the plaintiffs “mostly earned minimum wage and claimed that in being forced to purchase apparel on their own dime… their wages dropped below the minimum wage threshold.”

Abercrombie argued that “purchases were not mandatory,” but the plaintiffs had “support for their claim of an ‘unwritten national policy’” stating just the opposite. And in many states, reimbursing employees for work uniforms – which Abercrombie did not – is required “as a condition of employment or business-related expenses.”

Despite reaching an agreement, Abercrombie continues to deny any wrongdoing, with a spokesperson saying, “Abercrombie strongly contests the allegations, however, it believes it is in the best interest of the company and all its stakeholders, including its employees, to settle this matter.”

You can read more about it at WWD.

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