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Taco Bell’s Motion to Dismiss Denied in Unpaid Overtime Class Action


When a lawsuit reaches the court level, there is a system in place to make sure that the judge hears all sides of the case. Once the plaintiff has filed a complaint, the defendant is given a chance to respond, but they must follow the proper guidelines when they do. Taco Bell recently filed a motion to strike the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) allegations from a lawsuit it is currently facing from a class of current and former employees in California.

The class action wage and hour lawsuit alleges that Taco Bell failed to pay its workers minimum wage and overtime. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay all of their hourly workers no less than $7.25 for every hour that they work. In the event that an hourly employee ends up working more than eight hours a day or forty hours a week, the Act mandates that the employer must pay one and one-half times the employee’s normal hourly rate for all overtime worked.

In addition to the federal law, which regulates employers throughout the United States, each state has their own laws, which govern employers working within the state. California labor law, for example, requires employers to provide their hourly workers with a paid rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours worked. For every five hours worked, the law mandates that employers must provide an unpaid meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day that an employee does not take one of these breaks, for whatever reason, the law states that the employer must provide the worker with an additional hour’s worth of wages.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone denied Taco Bell’s motion to strike the allegations on the grounds that Taco Bell had already responded to the pleading. Any motion to strike must be filed before a response to the pleading, to the judge denied the motion on the grounds that it was untimely. He also said that the motion was improper because it “effectively seeks dismissal of plaintiff’s PAGA claims.”

Now that the motion to strike has been dismissed, Judge Boone can certify the class of plaintiffs. In order to qualify for class status, plaintiffs must meet certain requirements. To start with, the plaintiffs’ claims against the defendant must be sufficiently similar to justify handling the lawsuit as a class action. The claims of the class representative must also be similar enough to the claims of the rest of the class for the representative to be able to fairly represent the class. Additionally, the claims of the class taken together must be large enough that filing a claim in court makes sense.

Since the judge in this case has ordered the lead plaintiff, Lisa Hardiman, to file a Second Amended Consolidated Complaint to identify the claims that plaintiffs are asserting on a class basis and the claims that they are asserting on an individual basis, it would appear that not all of the claims of the plaintiffs are sufficiently similar to warrant class status. Those who do share the same claims, though, may be able to continue to pursue the lawsuit as a class.

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 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 Park Ridge and Des Plaines. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.

Our Riverwoods, Highwood, and Lincolnshire 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 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.