As noted by the California Department of Industrial Relations, the rate of overtime pay is 1.5 times one’s normal wages for every hour over 40, or all hours in excess of 8 in a given workday. Any hours in excess of 12 in a given workday must be paid at double the rate. With very few exceptions (based on the size of the company and traits of the industry) these are the rules.
California Wage Theft Alleged by Grocery Store Worker
Unfortunately, as our Orange County employment attorneys know, far too many employers skirt these rules. A wage and hour lawsuit recently filed against a grocery store chain in Berkley alleges the company systematically denied at least 50 of its workers fair overtime wages. The Daily Californian reports the worker has sought class action status for his claim, alleging numerous wage-and-hour law violations.
- Failure to pay overtime to workers;
- Failure to pay all workers according to the state’s minimum wage requirements;
- Denial of statutory meal breaks;
- Denial of statutory rest breaks.
Plaintiff also alleges the store failed to make sure it was maintaining accurate, complete payroll records, and did so knowingly in what amounted to “wage abuse.” Finally, plaintiff alleges the company refused to reimburse workers for job-related costs and expanses. All of this, plaintiff alleges, was for the purpose of boosting its own bottom line.
Plaintiff is asking the court to award himself and other class members reimbursement for what should have been their standard hourly wages, plus compensation for the missed meal and rest break periods, as well as damages for other losses.
Wage Theft Prevalence in California
If an employee steals from their boss, it’s usually a significant crime, like embezzlement, which is a felony. However, if your employer steals from you in the form of unpaid or underpaid wages and overtime, you’re unlikely to recover those damages without the help of a skilled Orange county wage and hour attorney.
The sad truth is wage theft is a longstanding issue for California workers, resulting in an estimated $2 billion annually just in minimum wage violations. National data from the Economic Policy Institute indicates workers lose between $40 billion and $60 billion each year in wage theft. In large cities like Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago, research has revealed employees lose more than $56 million a week. When we compare this to FBI statistics on theft, wage theft amounts to more than all kinds of theft – combined.
A few years ago, the UCLA Labor Center conducted a study that tallied 163,000 wage theft claims in California totaling $400 million over the course of three years. Yet only about 40 percent of that was actually collected by those workers.
Having a dedicated Orange County wage theft attorney at your side makes a difference when you’re pursuing these claims. You need an attorney who knows the law and is committed to fighting for your right to collect the wages you’re owed.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
Class-action complaint brought against Berkeley Bowl by former employee, May 2019, The Daily Californian
More Blog Entries:’
California Employee Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit Leads to $2.75M Settlement, April 13, 2019, Orange County Overtime Dispute Attorney Blog