In one of Southern California's largest overtime pay cases, Glidewell Dental Ceramics Inc. has agreed to pay $400,000 to more than 300 employees who claimed they had been denied back pay.
The case, brought last July by federal labor officials, alleged that Glidewell owed nearly $1.5 million in back pay to its employees, most of them dental technicians paid by the piece.
The company, one of the largest dental laboratories in the nation, has denied the suit's allegations and said the settlement is not an admission of guilt.
"Litigation is too expensive. We'd rather pay the workers than the lawyers," said Glidewell spokesman Keith Allred.
According to the settlement, which was filed recently in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, Glidewell must pay the Labor Department $400,000 by Feb. 1. The claims will then be reviewed and money is expected to be allocated to more than 300 employees, according to a Labor Department official.
Glidewell manufactures dentures, crowns, bridges and other oral appliances out of ceramic and metal material for dentists around the country. The average weekly pay for technicians is $500 to $600, although company officials say some employees make more than $1,000 a week.
The suit raised questions about the status of dental technicians nationwide, many of whom are compensated in the same way Glidewell paid its employees.