A corporate culture of encouraging employees to properly report all hours worked is just as important as having a written policy and training employees on the proper means of clocking in and out and reporting overtime. General Nutrition Corp (GNC) is about to find this out the hard way with a lawsuit which has just been granted class action status by a California federal judge.
The lawsuit, filed by a former California employee of GNC, alleges that employees who worked closing shifts were required to perform certain tasks after having clocked out for the day. These duties sometimes included making offsite bank deposits, which would have been done after the employees clocked out, but is time for which the employees should have been paid.
GNC says it is up to employees to properly record all time worked and that 1) employees are permitted to enter an estimated future time when they will be done working and 2) if they go over the estimated time they can, with management approval, claim the extra as overtime.
Despite these assertions, there is allegedly no formal training provided to employees regarding how they can get paid for closing duties. The company insists that it has maintained a time-card system which prompts employees working the closing shifts to estimate the time they might spend completing tasks after they clock out, and that they give employees chances to correct their time card. GNC also claims that it does, in fact, provide training for employees on how to make these estimations. However, the plaintiff alleges that GNC discourages employees from reporting time other than the hours they are scheduled for. According to the judge’s ruling, the company failed to provide evidence to back up these claims.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Rogers ruled it a partial certification because the scope of the opt-in includes sales associates and associate assistant managers only and excludes managers and senior managers at GNC stores. This lawsuit includes two class actions: the first class action alleges overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act on behalf of the certified nationwide class; the second alleges meal and rest period violations, off-the-clock violations and related causes on behalf of a California class, which the plaintiff will move to have the Court certify next. The certified nationwide class could include as many as 8,000 current and former GNC assistant managers and sales associates.
The attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retailers such as GNC and Walmart for misclassifying employees as managers, failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. 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 Cicero and Berwyn. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Schaumburg and Barrington 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.