Virgin Airlines Ordered to Pay $77 Million to Flight Attendants in Overtime Class Action

February 7, 2019 by

Flight attendants sued Virgin Airlines in 2015 alleging that did not pay its flight attendants for all time spent before, after, and between flights, for completing written reports, for time spent training and for undergoing required drug testing. Additionally, it alleged that Virgin did not allow the class of flight attendants to take meal or rest breaks, and that the airline failed to pay overtime and minimum wages.

The court granted class certification in 2016. A judge awarded the class $77 million in damages for violations of California’s wage and hour laws. In so doing, the judge rejected the airline’s challenges to the plaintiff’s damages model and reduced the damages requested by the workers by only $8 million. Bernstein et al. v. Virgin America Inc.,No. 3:15-cv-02277 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 16, 2019).

The class includes more than 1,000 flight attendants who worked for Virgin on or after March 2011. Virgin earlier had moved for summary judgment arguing, among other things, that the California Labor Code did not apply to the class members’ claims because they all did not work principally or exclusively in California. The court rejected that argument, reasoning that Virgin made decisions about how it would pay its flight attendants and then proceeded in accordance with those decisions exclusively from its headquarters in California and, therefore, California law applied. The class later moved for, and won, summary judgment on their claims against the airline.


This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

Sign up to receive Class Actions Blog posts in your inbox!


Steve Larson
An experienced trial lawyer who handles both hourly and contingent fee cases, Steve has expertise in class actions, consumer cases, antitrust litigation, securities litigation, corporate disputes, intellectual property disputes, unfair competition claims, employment matters, and disputes involving family wealth. Steve regularly represents individuals and businesses in federal and state court and has obtained class-wide recovery in multiple class actions. A veteran practitioner, Steve's clients value his creative approach to resolving complex litigation matters.

Legal Disclaimer

The information contained in this blog does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this blog.