Articles Posted in Breaks

Published on:

Since federal courts tend to rule in favor of Big Business, most companies prefer to dispute overtime lawsuits in federal court, but their ability to do so has some limitations. Among those limitations is the requirement that the total amount of the claims for which plaintiffs are filing add up to at least $5 million.

According to a California federal judge, an overtime class action lawsuit against Bank of America did not meet that requirement, so Judge Vince Chhabria granted the plaintiff’s request to remand the case back to Alameda County Superior Court.

Bank of America allegedly underpaid its business bankers by refusing to properly compensate them for the hours they worked after eight hours in a day or forty hours a week. In its motion to have the case moved to federal court, Bank of America alleged the claims involved, plus the attorneys’ fees and legal costs, added up to at least $8 million.

Judge Chhabria did not follow the bank’s logic, since that number assumes each plaintiff worked 2.5 hours of overtime for 90% of the weeks in the proposed class period.

Laura Lopez, one of the named plaintiffs in the proposed class action lawsuit, provided evidence that she did not actually work that many hours of overtime for most of the weeks included in the class period – some weeks she worked no overtime and she was on vacation for others. Continue reading

Published on:

One of the first things a company needs to do when it starts taking on employees is put in place employment policies and make sure they’re in line with all the relevant labor laws that apply to them (federal, state, local, etc.). It’s a good way for companies to protect themselves against potential wage and hour lawsuits, but it’s only the first step. They also need to make sure they’re educating all their employees and managers in order to make sure the policies are as effective as they can be.

No matter what employers have on paper, it is always possible for them to coerce their workers, either intentionally or unintentionally, into giving up some of their legally-mandated rights. This has been exemplified in the allegations of a wage and hour class action lawsuit that was recently filed against Courtyard by Marriott in California.

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 of work, 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, or is interrupted, for any reason, they are entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages, tips, bonuses, etc. earned that day. Continue reading

Published on:

A few minutes here and there spent getting ready for the day and closing up afterwards don’t seem like much, but for those who are earning minimum wage and have other obligations to attend to, those few minutes can add up to significant amounts of lost time, especially when they’re not getting paid for that time.

Decades ago, the U.S. Supreme Court came up with what they call the de minimis doctrine when their ruling in a case determined that employers don’t have to defend themselves against wage and hour lawsuits that only deal with a few minutes of time here and there. But the de minimis doctrine only applies to federal laws and district courts all over the country have been trying to figure out the best way to apply it to their local labor laws, if it applies at all. Continue reading

Published on:

When two or more parties decide to settle a legal dispute outside of court, it’s common for the settlement amount agreed upon to be less than the original value of the claims made by the plaintiff. That’s what makes it a compromise, but if the settlement amount is too much lower than the value of the alleged violations, they may not get approval for the settlement from the court judge.

When determining whether to approve a settlement agreement, the court judge presiding over the case is responsible for determining whether the agreement is fair to both parties. A settlement amount that is too much smaller than the original value of the claims provided might not be fair to the plaintiffs.

A California court judge presiding over a class action wage and hour lawsuit against Frito-Lay has refused to certify a proposed settlement because he says the $600,000 it provides is much too small to be fair to the plaintiffs. Continue reading

Published on:

When two parties agree to settle a legal dispute outside of court, it can be mutually beneficial for both parties, but they have to prove to the judge that both parties benefit equally from the agreement. One of the ways they do that is by including a complaint along with their proposed settlement agreement. The lawsuit cannot be considered settled until a court judge has issued both preliminary and final approval of the terms of the settlement agreement.

In a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit against UPS, in which 32,332 seasonal workers allege the shipping company denied them wages and rest breaks under California law, the judge presiding over the case has refused to grant preliminary approval of their settlement until the plaintiffs file an amended complaint.

The proposed class involves thousands of workers who worked for UPS for at least 20 days during the busy holiday season of November and December. The wage and hour lawsuit alleges UPS allowed its seasonal workers to take rest breaks only when they worked shifts of four hours or longer. For every day an employee misses a break, for any reason, she is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages, tips, bonuses, etc. earned that day. Continue reading

Published on:

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay their workers for all the work they perform, but sometimes the definition of what activities qualify as “work” gets a little fuzzy. Generally, any time employees devote to activities that ultimately benefit their employer is considered time for which they should be compensated under the FLSA.

One of the areas in which this can get a little tricky is the time workers spend in training. Employers already invest a fair amount of time and money in hiring new employees. They have to take the time or pay someone to sift through résumés and conduct interviews. Once a candidate has been selected, even experienced workers usually require a certain amount of training to familiarize them with the way their new employer does things.

Employers generally pay for this training time, but it’s not always easy to tell where to draw the line. Although some employers have programs that help their workers pay for their continuing education, it’s not required by law. So the question becomes where should the line be drawn between education and training? Continue reading

Published on:

Class action lawsuits are often settled outside of court in order to avoid the hassle and expense of arguing the case in the courts. The larger the class, the longer both parties could be stuck in court, presenting all their evidence to a judge and jury. Although settling outside of court is one way to save time, coming up with a settlement that both parties can agree on can also take months, if not years, to accomplish.

After three years of negotiating, a class of plaintiffs who filed a class action wage and hour lawsuit against Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel and Miracle Springs Resort & Spa have finally agreed to settle the lawsuit with the two related companies.

The wage and hour lawsuit was filed in California on behalf of all hourly, non-exempt employees who worked for one or both of the hotels in California. The lawsuit was therefore filed under California labor law and alleges several violations of state law.

California employment law requires employers to provide all their workers with regular meal and rest breaks throughout the day. For every four hours of work, an employee is entitled to one paid, uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes. For every five hours worked, an employee is entitled to one unpaid, uninterrupted meal break of 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, tips, and bonuses earned that day. Continue reading

Published on:

Of all the American states, California has become known for having some of the strictest employment laws to protect the employees who work within the state. In addition to the usual minimum wage and overtime regulations, California also has legislation requiring employers to provide all their hourly, non-exempt workers with regular meal and rest breaks throughout the day.

For every four hours an employee spends working in California, she is entitled to one paid, uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes. For every five hours of work, the employee is entitled to one unpaid, uninterrupted meal break of at least thirty minutes. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, her employer must pay her one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages, bonuses, and tips earned that day. Continue reading

Published on:

You’d better make sure your employment practices line up with your policies, because your company can be sued for either one. Back in 2012, Armida R. filed a class action wage and hour lawsuit against her employer, Burlington Coat Factory, for allegedly denying employees their full meal and rest breaks and requiring employees to submit to security checks after they had clocked out.

Armida worked for Burlington Coat Factory in their Compton, California location. California has very strict legislation to protect its employees from being overworked and/or underpaid. For example, California labor law requires employers to provide all their hourly workers with regular meal and rest breaks throughout the day. For every four hours an employee works, she is entitled to one paid, uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to one unpaid, uninterrupted meal break of at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, the employer owes her one hour’s worth of pay, in addition to all wages, bonuses, and tips earned that day.

According to the wage and hour lawsuit, Burlington Coat Factory’s policy allegedly limited rest breaks to “discrete time frames.” It also allegedly maintained a policy that required employees to submit to security checks after they had clocked out at the end of their shift and for their meal break. Security checks are checks in which employees are searched to make sure they aren’t walking out of the store with any stolen merchandise. When a lot of employees clock out at the same time, they can be made to wait in long lines to get through the security checks. This cuts into their personal time and because it is required by the employer, many workers have argued it is time for which they should be paid. Continue reading

Published on:

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects all employees working in the United States by providing things like a mandatory minimum wage as well as overtime regulations. Under the FLSA, all non-exempt employees are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly wages for all the time they spend working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week.

In addition to the FLSA, each state has its own laws to regulate the employees that work within the boundaries of the state. State labor laws have their own minimum wage, which can be higher or lower than the FLSA’s minimum wage (employers must pay the higher of the two minimum wages). They also provide their own definitions of overtime, double time, and some even require mandatory breaks for employees.

California is one state that requires its employers to provide all their hourly workers with regular breaks throughout the day. For every four hours an employee works, she is entitled to one paid, uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to one unpaid, uninterrupted meal break of at least half an hour. For every day an employee misses one of these breaks, for any reason, she is entitled to one hour’s worth of pay, in addition to all wages and bonuses earned that day. Continue reading