MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – A Wisconsin copywriter has been paid $2.5 million after a class she taught was deemed successful by an employer.
Kaitlyn Johnson was awarded the $2 million in compensation in a settlement of a class action lawsuit against the software company, which said she should not be fired because she had failed to pass the course.
Johnson taught the course, which was designed to help copywriters with the copywriting process, to copywriters at a Milwaukee software company that sells to companies such as Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc.
A judge ruled in November that Johnson was entitled to the compensation because she was not fired or disciplined for not passing the class.
In a statement, the company said Johnson was not paid her full salary and that she was compensated on a per-class basis.
The company also said it had suspended Johnson from its sales team.
“We were disappointed that our decision not to discipline Kaitlyn for her failure to pass this class was reversed in court, but we are confident she will succeed,” the company statement said.
“We are disappointed that she chose to continue to take her copywriting classes despite the evidence in this case.”
In the class action suit, plaintiffs claimed that Johnson had not passed the course and that the company violated the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act when she was fired and was not disciplined for failing to pass.
The case was brought by three plaintiffs who alleged that they were misclassified as copywriters when they were hired by the software firm, which then outsourced their jobs to other companies, such as Johnson’s.
The plaintiffs also said they had not been paid the $4,000 a month Johnson was receiving for her time as a copywriter.
In December, a federal judge ruled that the case was moot, but the judge’s decision did not invalidate the class or her contract with the software supplier.
Johnson had been working as a freelance copywriter at the software giant for more than two years, according to her LinkedIn profile.
She was paid a base salary of $500, which she used to cover her legal fees and her $1,500 bonus, according.
Johnson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
She previously worked at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where she was a copyeditor.