Objectors of a recent wage and hour lawsuit against Labor Ready Southwest Inc., a temp agency, are opposing the class action lawsuit, claiming it was filed merely as a catalyst to try to prompt the company to improve its employment practices. But even if that was the reason (or one of the reasons) for filing the lawsuit, it doesn’t mean the claims of the plaintiffs don’t have merit. In fact lawsuits are often pursued with the hope the defendant will change its ways.
Labor Ready has reached a settlement agreement with the 206,000 employees who filed the class action wage and hour lawsuit against the company alleging the temp agency violated federal and California wage laws. According to the wage and hour lawsuit, which was filed in California, Labor Ready allegedly violated California labor law by failing to provide regular meal and rest breaks for its employees.
Under California labor law, all hourly, nonexempt employees are entitled to one paid, uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours they spend working. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to one unpaid, uninterrupted meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, she is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages, bonuses, and tips earned that day.
The class action lawsuit also alleges Labor Ready violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by shorting its temp workers on the wait and travel times required to get to their job for the day and by illegally charging them fees every time they cashed their paychecks.
The settlement agreement between Labor Ready and the class of employees first received court approval back in in 2013, but the objectors appealed the court’s decision to approve the settlement and the Ninth Circuit Court reversed the ruling. The objectors to the settlement are claiming the injunctive relief provided by the settlement benefits current and future employees of Labor Ready, including those who started working for the company after the class period ended in April 2013. According to the objectors, by benefiting employees not included in the class, the injunctive relief is invalid.
The relief the objectors are referring to includes Labor Ready changing its practices so that it currently uses text messages to notify its workers of a job, rather than requiring them to check in at hiring halls. Labor Ready has also stopped using its check-cashing machines, which were charging the employees a fee for each use. Because Labor Ready made these changes as a direct result of the wage and hour lawsuit filed by the class of employees, the plaintiffs’ attorney maintains the settlement is fair to both parties and that all the class members are getting fair compensation for the fees they were charged when they cashed their checks.
The matter has gone back to U.S. District Judge Dean J. Pregerson, who says he is inclined to approve the terms of the settlement, despite protests from the objectors of the suit. The settlement would pay $4.5 million to the class of plaintiffs, approximately $1.13 to $1.35 million of which would go to cover the attorneys’ fees and costs. Each potential class member would receive up to $25, depending on their claim, and Labor Ready would be allowed to keep whatever portion of the settlement money was not allocated.
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, Extended Stay America, Staybridge Suites, Best Western, HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Applebees, Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s and hotels for mis-classifying 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 Palatine and Elk Grove Village. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Park Ridge and Arlington Heights 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 mis-classify 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 unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.