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Costco Sued For Various FLSA Violations in Class Action Claim

In addition to making sure that workers are paid fair wages, various federal and state labor laws have been implemented to ensure that all employees can enjoy a safe and comfortable work environment. These laws include bans on sexual harassment, and although we normally think of women as being the subject of sexual harassment, men can be targeted, too.

According to a recent class action lawsuit that was filed in California against Costco, the company allegedly failed to properly deal with reports of sexual harassment. Micah Ornelas, who filed the lawsuit, reported that a female coworker approached him claiming that their manager had sexually harassed and threatened her. When she went through the proper channels to report the harassment, she was allegedly dismissed. Ornelas brought this information to the attention of his supervisor, who allegedly told him that the offending manager would be reprimanded.

Instead, Ornelas later allegedly discovered that the manager had been promoted to another leadership position. Ornelas continued to bring up the issue with his supervisor on behalf of the dismissed coworker. His supervisor then allegedly told Ornelas that “the harassment complaint was ‘none of his business’ and repeated it several times.”

Ornelas also alleges that he was the victim of sexual harassment while working at Costco. His manager allegedly stared at his bottom. When Ornelas told him to stop, the manager allegedly “responded that there was no rule against him staring at [Ornelas’s] bottom.” When Ornelas reported the incident to his supervisor, he was allegedly told to clock out and go home. He was fired a few days later.

Ornelas filed a class action lawsuit against the wholesale retailer for harassment, failure to prevent harassment, and wrongful termination, but Ornelas claims that there were problems working at Costco even before that. The lawsuit also alleges that Costco failed to provide its employees with the proper meal and rest breaks, and failed to properly compensate employees when these breaks were missed.

Under California labor law, employers are required to provide all of their workers with a paid rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours that they work. For every five hours worked, the employer must provide an unpaid meal break of at least half an hour. For every day that an employee misses one of these breaks, for any reason, the employer is required to compensate that employee with one hour’s worth of the employee’s normal hourly wages, in addition to all wages earned that day.

California also has strict laws regarding the timeliness of paying terminated employees the last of their wages. Under the law, when a worker’s employment is terminated, the employer must provide the worker with all wages earned by the next pay period after the termination. This includes any accrued sick or vacation time that the employee has not yet used. Ornelas alleges that Costco still has not paid him for the wages that were due him upon termination of his employment.

Ornelas further alleges that Costco failed to pay its employees the proper overtime compensation of one and one-half times their normal rate for all time worked after eight hours a day or forty hours a week, as mandated by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains such as Costco, Crabtree & Evelyn, Walgreen’s, CVS, Urban Outfitters, GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch, Limited, Forever 21, Macy’s, Target, JC Penney’s, Lowes, Best Buy, Home Depot, Apple, Best Buy, Sears, K Mart, J.C Penney, Walmart 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.