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Sky Chef Settles Alleged Unpaid Overtime Class Action

Employers who conduct business within the United States must be sure they are also abiding by all relevant labor laws applicable to the states in which they are conducting business. California for example, has some very explicit laws regarding when hourly employees should take their breaks.

Under California labor law, employers are required to provide all of their hourly workers with a paid rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours the employee spends working. For every five hours worked, the employee is entitled to an unpaid meal break lasting at least thirty minutes. For every day the employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, the employer must pay her one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages earned that day.

According to a recent wage and hour class action lawsuit, Sky Chef Inc. allegedly failed to provide its employees with these legally mandated breaks, or the hour’s worth of wages as compensation.

In addition to violations of California labor law, the class action lawsuit alleges the airline food and beverage catering service failed to pay employees for all the hours they worked, and failed to pay them overtime when they worked more than eight hours a day or forty hours a week.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay all of their hourly employees one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all time spent working after eight hours a day and forty hours a week. Companies that fail to abide by this Act can be subject to severe penalties.

The lawsuit further alleges that Sky Chefs Inc. failed to provide its employees with accurate wage statements. The FLSA requires employers to furnish all hourly workers with          complete wage statements that accurately detail the number of hours worked by the employee, the employee’s pay rate, and all deductions made from her pay, such as taxes and health insurance.

These wage statements are meant to serve as a record for the employee to refer to regarding how much money she made each pay period, how many hours she worked, and what deductions were made from her pay. Sky C hef denies all the claims.

When filing a wage and hour lawsuit, employees can point to inaccurate or incomplete wage statements as proof that the violations were made willfully and intentionally on behalf of the employer. Such proof can result in the court fining the employer up to double the fines they would otherwise receive.

Rather than risk court-ordered fines, Sky Chefs decided to settle the lawsuit with the class of hourly employees. The class of plaintiffs agreed to a settlement of $1.75 million. The settlement has received preliminary approval from a court judge, and is now awaiting final approval before the matter is settled once and for all.

The settlement covers current and former employees of Sky Chefs Inc. After paying about $300,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs, $13,000 for claims administrations, and $7,000 in incentive awards for the lead plaintiff, the remaining settlement money will go to compensate the members of the class. This means each class member will receive approximately $1,290, depending on the number of hours they claim they worked in the relevant time period.The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail and restaurant and hotel chains such as Sky Chef, BJ’s, Jewel, Hienans, Aldi, Smart & Final, 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.