Weight Watchers North America Inc. has recently had to face a wage and hour class action lawsuit alleging the popular weight loss company failed to pay its employees minimum wages and overtime for all hours spent working. The class action lawsuit, which was filed in the state of California, was filed on behalf of all employees who worked as Leaders and Receptionists the company between January 9, 2011 and December 9, 2012. The class includes those employees who performed coordination work that allegedly should have been paid on an hourly basis.
According to the lawsuit, employees of Weight Watchers were allegedly paid for a set number of hours each week, regardless of how many hours they actually worked. As so often happens in life, plans change and employees often ended up splitting shifts or working additional hours when the occasion called for it. According to the wage and hour lawsuit though, they allegedly worked these extra hours without pay.
In addition to accusing Weight Watchers of failing to properly pay employees, the lawsuit also alleges the company failed to provide employees with pay stubs. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is very strict about the requirements for accurate, itemized pay statements. All employers are required to give every worker, without exception, itemized wage statements that accurately list the number of hours the employee worked, the wages they were paid, and any and all deductions made from their paycheck (such as taxes, health insurance, etc.). Failure to provide accurate wage statements can be used against a company in a wage and hour lawsuit to prove that the violations were conducted willfully and intentionally, which can lead to much higher fines, if the court finds the defendant to be guilty.
Weight Watchers is denying all of the allegations, but rather than fight a long, expensive court battle that could potentially drag on for years, the company and the class of plaintiffs have agreed to settle the lawsuit for more than $1.6 million. Once the attorneys’ fees and costs have been paid, as well as the other costs of litigation and the premium payment for the lead plaintiffs, about $1,213,125 will remain to be distributed among the remaining class members. It is estimated that approximately 3,319 current and former employees of Weight Watchers are eligible to participate in the class, which means each class member will receive around $365.
As though not paying employees all wages allegedly earned isn’t bad enough Weight Watchers also allegedly failed to reimburse employees for all work-related expenses. Employees according to the suit should never have to pay for any expenses at work out of their own pocket. All such expenses (including office supplies, travel expenses, shipping supplies used to ship items for the company, etc.) should be paid for by the company according to the suit. In the event that an employee has to cover some of these expenses, the employer is allegedly required to fully reimburse her.
In addition to the federal FLSA, states have their own labor laws that govern the employers conducting business in that state. Because the wage and hour lawsuit against Weight Watchers was filed in California, the class action alleges the company violated both California Labor Laws and federal wage and hour laws.The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains such as Apple, Walgreen’s, CVS, Urban Outfitters, GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch, Limited, Forever 21, Macy’s, Target, JC Penney’s, Lowes, Marshalls, TJ Max, Victoria’s Secret, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Best Buy, Home Depot, Apple, Best Buy, Sears, K Mart, J.C Penney, Walmart, Costco and other retail chains for misclassifying employees as managers, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, failing to pay for time spent on security checks, and otherwise 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.