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SpaceX Sued in Two California Wage and Overtime Class Actions

When companies compete against each other for a highly desirable customer or job, it is an unfortunate fact that the employees of those companies are sometimes made to pay the price. Such is allegedly the case with Space Exploration Technologies Inc., better known as SpaceX. SpaceX is currently facing two class action lawsuits by current and former employees. The first alleges that SpaceX illegally laid off hundreds of employees allegedly without the proper notice or compensation.

Since SpaceX conducts business in California, and the alleged violations took place in that state, the lawsuits are subject to California labor law. Under the relevant labor law, whenever a worker’s employment is terminated, for any reason, the employer must pay all wages and unpaid sick and vacation time within 72 hours of termination. If a worker gives notice of her termination at least 72 hours ahead of time, then all wages are due at the time of termination. According to the class action lawsuit, SpaceX allegedly failed to do this when it laid off hundreds of employees. Just two days after the initial class action lawsuit was filed, another former employee filed an additional wage and hour lawsuit against SpaceX. The latest lawsuit alleges that the manufacturer violated various areas of California labor law, including setting schedules and workloads that required employers to work through meal and rest breaks, to which they are entitled by law. Under the relevant labor law, all hourly employees working in the state of California are entitled to a paid rest break lasting at least 15 minutes for every four hours that they spend working. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to an unpaid meal break of at least thirty minutes. For every day that an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, the employee is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages earned that day.

The lawsuit also alleges that SpaceX rounded timesheets to the nearest 15-minute increment. According to the class action lawsuit, doing so is allegedly illegal because it has the potential to cheat employees out of earned wages if the timesheets don’t record time that the employees spend working. The difference may be small, but it can add up to significant unpaid time over months or years of working that way. The lawsuit also alleges that employees were made to purchase tools with their own money to perform jobs for SpaceX. SpaceX should have reimbursed its workers for buying tools to finish projects, but it allegedly failed to do so. The lead plaintiff, Joseph A. Smith, who filed the lawsuit, alleges that these violations date back to August 2010. The lawsuit is seeking back pay with interest, and class action status to represent all hourly employees who worked for SpaceX in the relevant time frame and were similarly allegedly taken advantage of. SpaceX denies all of the claims and asserts it did nothing wrong.

The job that SpaceX is so hotly competing for is to build transport craft to shuttle astronauts and other support staff to and from the International Space Station. Boeing Corp. is the other bidder competing with SpaceX for the new contract with NASA. Until the new contract goes into effect, the space agency is relying on Russian Soyus craft.  SpaceX will face these lawsuits as it competes for this contract.

The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Hilton, W, Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s and hotels for misclassifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.

The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Rockford and Orland Park. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.

Our Aurora, Elgin and Naperville 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 class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.