Articles Posted in wage and hour lawsuit

The California Supreme Court ruled that employers in the state cannot invoke the federal de minimis doctrine to avoid paying workers for required duties they perform off-the-clock.clock1-300x225

This California wage theft class action lawsuit filed by a Starbucks employee who alleged the store was requiring him to work for several minutes each shift without being paid. When multiplied by the minimum wage, this work amounted to more than $100 over the course of 17 months.

In granting summary judgment in favor of the employer, the trial court relied on the 1946 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., wherein the court concluded that “a few seconds or minutes of work beyond the scheduled working hours… may be disregarded.” The basic concept is that the courts do not concern themselves with “trifles.” Federal courts have held that it can be applied in cases where small amounts of wages that would otherwise be compensable can be excused when they are difficult to administratively record.

The California Supreme Court reversed, noting the de minimis rule doesn’t apply here.  Continue reading

California Supreme Court has ruled that employers must pay hourly employees for tasks that are performed off the clock, no matterwage theft how menial. The case at hand involved Starbucks Corp. and a shift supervisor who claimed the company was taking advantage of outdated laws that allowed for some responsibilities to be completed after workers have clocked out, according to a report from Wall Street Journal.

Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in 2012 describing the tasks he was responsible for completing after he had already clocked out for the night, including not only activating an alarm system and locking the door, which would be typical tasks expected after clocking out, but also transmitting sales records to corporate. He said over time, these extra minutes after each shift add up. After a dismissal and an appeal of the case in the lower courts, the state Supreme Court agreed employers should be responsible for compensating employees for work done during this time. Employers have long been hiding behind standards that give leeway where leeway is no longer needed to pocket incalculable savings over time. Continue reading

Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., has spread a bit of its magic to its workers by agreeing to increase minimum wage to $15 perwage dispute hour by January 2019. At the time of the announcement, minimum wage for park workers was $11 an hour, which will be bumped to $13.25 for the remainder of the year. To ensure the wages keep up with the times, minimum wage will increase again by mid 2020 to $15.45 per hour, and will continue to increase for workers near minimum income by 3 percent every year, according to a CBS MoneyWatch report.

The change comes after months of negotiations with nine labor unions advocating for higher pay for employees at Disneyland and California Adventure Park. Data on park employees from a study funded by park unions showed roughly one in 10 Disneyland workers had experienced homelessness recently. The study also showed 73 percent of respondents did not earn enough for basic expenses, including food, gas, or rent. The problem of low wages is compounded by long commutes and sporadic work hours that make it difficult to supplement income in any significant way. With roughly 30,000 employees, these numbers are significant.

Park representatives said this will be one of the highest entry minimum wages in the country, beating the scheduled gradual increase of minimum wage in Los Angeles and the state of California. Minimum wage in L.A. is currently $13.25 per hour for businesses with more than 25 employees and is scheduled to hit $15 per hour in 2020. California is scheduled to reach $15 in 2022. Continue reading

Minimum wages recently went up in a number of cities across California, including Los Angeles as part of a minimum wageplanned implementation of gradual increases. In 2015, city council established a new citywide minimum wage and put L.A. on a schedule to reach $15 per hour by 2020. This would be applicable for businesses with 26 or more employees, with smaller companies given an extra year to reach $15. The minimum wage is set to go up on July 1 each year, with this year hitting $13.25, or $12 for businesses with 25 or fewer employees. In 2022, the minimum will continue to adjust based on cost of living as determined by Consumer Price Index.

Many other cities also raised their hourly minimum wages at the beginning of July, according to UC Berkeley, who has built an inventory of minimum wage ordinances across the U.S. California changes as of July 1 include: Belmont, $12.50; Emeryville, $15.69 (56 or more employees), $15 (less than 56 employees); Malibu, $13.25 (26 or more employees), $12 (less than 26 employees); Milpitas, $13.50; Pasadena, $13.25 (26 or more employees), $12 (less than 26 employees); San Francisco, $15; San Leandro, $13; and Santa Monica, $13.25 (26 or more employees), $12 (less than 26 employees). Continue reading

In-N-Out Burger Inc. employees should be allowed to wear buttons in support of higher minimum wage, employee rightsaccording to a recent ruling from a federal appeals court. A panel with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals recently unanimously upheld a decision by National Labor Relations Board in a case regarding employees at In-N-Out Burger wearing Fight for $15 buttons. The company tried to ban the buttons arguing they interfered with the company’s image, which includes a very specific uniform and a dress code that prohibits wearing pins or stickers. The company also claimed the buttons could pose food safety concerns, but NLRB and the panel said that was not enough reason to restrict workers’ rights and that doing so was in violation of federal law, according to a report from Reuters.

Fight for $15 is an organization that supports unions and pushes for higher minimum wage, especially among fast-food workers across the country. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935, protects the right of workers to join a union and encourages collective bargaining. It also holds firm against practices by employers deemed harmful to the general welfare of workers. What does all of this have to do with employees wearing buttons?

Continue reading

According to a recent news article from CBS Local Los Angeles, workers at Disneyland Resort are organizing demonstrations to protest what they are calling unfairly low wages. This demonstration involves a protest outside of the resort and the presentment of a petition to the company CEO demanding higher wages for their hard work for the amusement park.

sex discriminationA representative for the workers said their petition contains over 117,000 signatures and it began circulating when United States Senator Bernie Sanders was in Anaheim to discuss the wage issue there and other wage issues across the nation. Higher wages for working Americans has been one of the main issues for Mr. Sanders during his bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and he has continued his efforts on this front as a senator when he lost in primaries to Hillary Clinton.  Continue reading

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement is attempting to chip away at the state’s ongoing wage theftwage theft problem through a series of investigations throughout the state. Officials recently cited seven restaurants in the Bay Area for stolen wages totaling more than $10 million. Over $5 million of that total came from 133 workers at one restaurant, according to an article from SFGate. Additionally, six residential facilities in Los Angeles were issued citations totaling $7 million in recent months, and a Los Angeles restaurant was charged $500,000. In Chino, a fitness and weight loss chain was cited $8.3 million. Violations included counting tips toward minimum hourly wage, withholding overtime payments, and not paying split-shift premiums.

As our employment attorneys can explain, California minimum wage as of Jan. 1, 2018, is $11 per hour for places of employment with more than 25 employees, and $10.50 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees. The state is in the middle of a gradual increase process, with wages going up incrementally each year until they reach $15 per hour in 2023. In many states, restaurant workers have a different minimum hourly wage than other workers that is provided by their employer, so long as their tips bring them up to at least the standard hourly minimum wage. But in California, restaurant owners are not allowed to use tips as a credit toward their employees’ minimum wage. Servers must be compensated with full minimum wage, plus all the tips they earn. If a California employer holds back any tips or applies tips toward their hourly wage, it is considered wage theft. Continue reading

A bill labeled “Dignity in the Driver’s Seat” has been introduced in the California State Senate, taking aim at port trucking companies’ exploitation of workers and failure to pay up for affirmed violations. This bill would make retailers who work with offending trucking companies jointly liable for their actions. Previous efforts have taken aim solely at offending trucking companies, but so many of these violators are still operating – despite unpaid final judgments on their records. This proposal strikes at their bottom line.wage dispute

Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced SB-1402 in an attempt to rein in current outstanding violations by port trucking companies as well as prevent future issues. The bill proposes creating a list of those trucking companies that have unpaid final judgments and distributing it to retailers. Retailers would then be issued a warning: Do business with any of the companies on the list, and you will have to pay in part for any future violations committed by that company.  Continue reading

They might share a name, hours, and overarching rules, but according to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California,employment attorneys  7-Eleven franchisees are not direct employees of 7-Eleven. In the original employment lawsuit complaint, filed by a group of four franchisees, plaintiffs pointed to 7-Eleven’s restrictive rules, alleging they were unable to run a truly independent franchise and therefore qualified them as employees of the parent company. But the court ruled plaintiffs did not sufficiently demonstrate an employee-employer relationship. Our employment attorneys experienced in wage and hour lawsuits know this could set a significant precedent for current and future cases involving franchises.

According to National Law Review, plaintiffs attempted to make a case based on a few factors:

  • The requirement that franchisees remain open 364 days a year for 24 hours a day.
  • 7-Eleven distributes payments to all employees.
  • 7-Eleven sets rules for pay practices, discipline, terminations, and performance appraisals.

Continue reading

Californians have some of the best employee protections in the country. Our state has worked hard to establish fair wages, decent hours, and laws that are in the bestwage dispute interest of workers. Rules are put in place to discourage employers from overworking employees, and in situations where that is necessary, offering ample compensation. But that doesn’t mean employers will always play by the rules.

Two employees, on behalf of all other affected employees, filed a lawsuit in Superior Court of California, County of Fresno against L’Oréal USA on allegations the company did not fully pay overtime wages and did not provide proper meal breaks. More specifically, plaintiffs allege L’Oréal forced employees to clock out, and then would require them to stay for loss prevention inspections. These inspections were a mandatory part of the job and were performed during times when employees were no longer being paid for their time. When performed during a lunch, this meant employees were not receiving the full meal break as required by law.

In addition to performing inspections during people’s meal breaks, plaintiffs allege that the intense workload at L’Oréal caused them to sometimes miss meal breaks entirely or work through portions of their designated break time. According to the lawsuit, plaintiffs also claimed they were denied 10-minute rest breaks(required for every four hours on the clock) occasionally when the production schedule was especially tight. Continue reading