California has a reputation for being one of the most employee-friendly states largely because of the extensive protection it offers to employees working in the state, most of which go above and beyond the requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
In addition to a higher minimum wage and strict overtime regulations, California labor law requires employers to provide all their hourly workers with regular meal and rest breaks throughout the day. Under the law, all hourly 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 a break is interrupted, the employee is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages, tips, bonuses, etc. earned that day.
California also protects former employees by requiring businesses to pay all their workers in a timely manner upon or after termination of employment. Under the relevant labor law, all wages earned must be paid within 72 hours of termination of employment. If an employee provides notice at least 72 hours prior to termination, then all wages are due upon termination.
According to a recent wage and hour class action lawsuit against Trustaff Travel Nurses LLC, the temp-worker company allegedly violated various California labor laws by failing to provide meal and rest periods and failing to pay all wages earned upon termination. Trustaff also allegedly violated the FLSA by failing to pay nurses the proper overtime rate and failing to provide accurate, itemized wage statements along with their paychecks.
In addition to defining the minimum wage and overtime regulations, the FLSA also requires employers to provide all their workers with itemized wage statements along with their paychecks. The statements must accurately list the pay period, the employee’s hourly rate, how many hours they worked, their net earnings, the payment they received, and any and all deductions that were made from their payment (such as taxes, healthcare, etc.).
Andrea M., the named plaintiff, filed the class action lawsuit against the temp-worker company in the spring of 2015 on behalf of herself and all other similarly-situated nurses who worked for the company and were allegedly denied their rights as workers under California labor law. The proposed class of plaintiffs includes approximately 1,900 nurses.
The parties have reached a settlement in which Trustaff has agreed to pay $3.77 million to resolve the dispute outside of court. The decision to settle does not necessarily mean that Trustaff is admitting it did anything illegal, although, depending on the terms of the agreement, they may have to make some changes to their employment practices. It’s likely that Trustaff agreed to settle outside of court instead of risk a long and expensive legal battle with no guarantee they’ll win.
The plaintiffs likewise gain from settling outside of court by getting the assurance of the settlement money, rather than risking the possibility of the court ruling against them.
The Chicago class action and employment law 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 Berwyn and Arlington Hts. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Palatine and Hoffman Estates overtime and employment 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 Oak Brook, and represents clients throughout the country who have unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.