The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) covers all employees working in the United States, but in addition to that law, each state has their own labor laws that govern all of the employees working in that state. For example, although the FLSA provides a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, California labor law sets their minimum wage at $9 an hour. All employers conducting business in the state of California are required to pay their workers no less than $9 per hour, despite the lower federal limit.
California labor law also requires employers to provide all of their hourly workers with regular meal and rest breaks. Under the law, an employee is entitled to a paid rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours that she spends working. For every five hours worked, the employee is entitled to an unpaid meal break of at least thirty minutes. For every day that an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, she is entitled to one hour’s worth of pay, in addition to all wages earned that day.
In order to make sure that employers are abiding by all of the relevant state and federal labor laws, the FLSA requires employers to maintain accurate records of all time worked and wages paid to employees. If an employer fails to maintain these records, a worker filing a wage and hour lawsuit can claim that any violations of labor law were done willfully and intentionally. In some courts, this proof can result in a substantial increase to the award the employer will have to pay, if the court rules in favor of the plaintiff.
According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit filed against FedEx in the state of California, the packaging company allegedly 1) failed to provide its package handlers with all of the relevant meal and rest breaks; 2) failed to pay them at least the state minimum wage of $9 per hour; 3) failed to pay earned straight wages and vacation wages; 4) failed to pay all wages owed at the time of an employee’s termination; and 5) failed to maintain accurate records of all time worked and wages earned. FedEx denies all of these claims and asserts that it did nothing wrong.
California also has strict laws regarding how long an employer can wait after a worker’s termination of employment before paying the worker for all of the earned wages, unpaid vacation and unpaid sick time. The law states that an employer is to wait no longer than 72 hours after termination of employment before paying the worker all of the wages that are owed her at that time. If an employee gives notice of her termination at least 72 hours ahead of time, then all wages are owed at the time of termination.
FedEx has agreed to settle the class action lawsuit for $2.1 million. The settlement will cover all non-exempt package handlers who worked for FedEx in the state of California any time between September 24, 2009 and September 1, 2014. It is estimated that about 16,000 will qualify to participate in the settlement and at least 70% of the settlement is expected to go to pay the Class members. The amount paid to each Class Member will be determined by a point system in which one point will be allotted for each day of active employment during the eligible period and an additional point if the employee worked more than one shift in a day. All terminated employees in that time frame will receive 10 points each.
In addition to the monetary award, the settlement agreement between FedEx and the class of plaintiffs states that FedEx will clarify its policies on meal and rest breaks.The attorneys at Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience litigating wage and hour cases, including overtime, vacation pay, meal breaks, and tips. We have offices conveniently located in Oakbrook Terrace and Chicago, Illinois. Contact a Schaumburg and Evanston wage and hour lawyer at the Chicago Overtime Law Center today at 312-869-4095. We are looking to represent service worker, and loan and mortgage brokers who have not been paid overtime and have been misclassified as managers.