We’ve all heard about the various lawsuits filed against Walmart. Now we can add another to the list. A class action of warehouse employees in California have been battling against their employer in court over unpaid wages and overtime. According to the lawsuit, the laborers were moving goods exclusively for Walmart and each of the subcontractors that hired them was employed by the Walmart contractor Schneider Logistics.
Workers have testified that they allegedly were often required to work unpaid overtime and sometimes worked as much as sixteen hours in a day with only one break. Another employee, Jose Tejada, alleged that “breaks and rest periods weren’t being respected” and that, if employees complained about the unfair treatment, they would be terminated. Other times, said Tejada, “as punishment … you would work both the night and the day shift, on top of that they would pay you only for the morning shift.”
According to some of the workers’ allegations, one of the subcontractors, Rogers-Premier, responded to a worker-prompted investigation by moving to lay off all its employees in one of the warehouses. With the support of Warehouse Workers United, workers succeeded in getting a judicial order enjoining the layoffs. The injunction, as well as two others against the warehouse companies, are currently on appeal.
The court found Schneider to be a “joint employer” with responsibility for working conditions and allowed it to be named as a defendant in a suit filed in October 2011. The lawsuit has now revealed enough evidence to add Walmart as a defendant and the motion will be heard in court on January 7.
Six legal theories were used to argue in favor of adding Walmart as a defendant. Among them are the allegations that Walmart controls the means of production and determines the terms and conditions of employment; that contractors are acting as Walmart’s agent; that Walmart is a co-conspirator; and that Walmart has been negligent. Attorneys claim that Walmart kept a full-time staff member on-site and gave its contractor directions ranging from when to reduce staffing on a particular truck to when ink in a printer needs to be refilled.
A spokesperson for Walmart has denied any wrongdoing in this case, saying that “Walmart is Schneider’s customer. We have a set of business needs that we pay them to meet just like any company might hire an accounting firm to do taxes or an advertising firm to help launch a new product. We have a set of quality standards that must be met, the third party service providers we utilize are responsible for running their day-to-day business. They manage their people completely independent of us.”
An attorney for the plaintiffs argued that, on the contrary, the warehouses run by Walmart’s contractors operate in a manner identical to the warehouses run by Walmart. “Walmart owns all of the equipment and all the supplies being used. … They’re there. They have offices there. The employees of its contractors have wal-mart.com email accounts. … These are Walmart employees.
The attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retailers such as Walmart for misclassifying employees as managers, failing to pay workers for overtime and other wage. If you are the victim this practice call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience fighting for wage earner’s rights. We have a team of overtime attorneys who focus on nationwide class action lawsuits and work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and prosecute claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Naperville and Aurora. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Kane and Cook Counties. Our Elgin and Schaumburg overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago wage and hour attorney by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.