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The Central Valley Business Times is reporting that Lowe’s has settled an overtime class action accusing the home improvement retailer of forcing thousands of employees to work “off the clock.”
“Home improvement retailer Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) has agreed to pay $29.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit that argued it had required “thousands” of hourly workers to toil “off the clock.”
Two former Lowe’s employees alleged that they and thousands of other hourly Lowe’s workers were required to work before and after their normal shifts but were not paid for the extra work…
Earlier, Lowe’s denied all of the claims raised in the lawsuit. The company, contacted Wednesday for comment, said it could not comment directly on the settlement but a spokeswoman said the company believes it is in compliance with all laws and regulations.
The settlement was approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles Superior Court, shortly before the case was to finally go to trial.”
To read the entire story go the the Central Valley Business Times’ website.
As published on Tricities.com, the Bristol Herald Courier is reporting that “Sprint has paid nearly $259,429 in back wages and a $120,000 fine after a federal labor investigation revealed the telecommunications giant did not pay overtime to 1,013 workers from its Bristol call center at 134 Commerce Court.
The U.S. Department of Labor investigation focused on the roughly nine minutes before the start of shifts between July 2005 and June 2007. During that time, employees review company e-mails and download computer applications, labor spokeswoman Leni Fortson said.”
To read the full article regarding Sprint’s payment to call center workers go to Tricities.com
Call centers of companies of all sizes frequently violate wage and hour laws, by failing to pay customer service employees for all time worked. If you believe your call center employer of former call center employer has failed to pay you for all hours worked, call us at 1-888-OVERTIME or go to http://www.overtimeadvocate.com/2.html for a free consultation today.
Camesi v. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Describing the policy in question, the Court stated:
“Non-exempt employees are the subject of Defendants’ written “UPMC Compensation Manual.” Although different versions of the Manual have existed, Defendants advise that the relevant provisions have remained materially the same
UPMC attempts to grant a 30-minute meal period for all employees even though meal periods are not required under the FLSA. Typically, this meal period is unpaid. However, meal periods must be counted as hours worked unless all three of the following conditions are met:
• The meal period must be scheduled for 30 minutes;
• The employee is completely relieved of all duties during the meal period; and
• The employee is free to leave the workstation or area.
If a non-exempt employee does not receive 20 consecutive minutes of uninterrupted time it will be considered work time and will be paid. Answering a page or beeper is considered to be an interruption. The time and attendance system (KRONOS) has an automatic feature that will deduct a 30 minute meal period after 5 hours of time worked. If an employee does not receive a meal period and it is to be recorded as time worked, it is the employee’s responsibility to make sure the automatic [meal] deduction is cancelled via the manner designated by the department. Employees must immediately notify their supervisors if they are unable to appropriately record their time.”
Considering the lighter burden Plaintiffs have on this Stage 1 Motion for Conditional Certification, the Court noted, “Plaintiffs have placed into the record the undisputed written policies of UPMC regarding non-exempt employees’ ‘meal breaks.’ By implication, UPMC’s policies dictate that meal breaks lasting twenty minutes or longer, but less than thirty minutes, qualify as ‘bona fide meal periods’ that are non-compensable under the FLSA. See 29 C.F.R § 785.19(a) ( “Section 785.19(a)“). At least for the purposes of conditional certification, Defendants’ position is unsupported by Section 785.19(a):
Bona fide meal periods are not worktime. Bona fide meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period. A shorter period may be long enough under special conditions. The employee is not relieved if he is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating.
29 C.F.R. § 785.19(a). Lastly, the Court explained, “[i]f ‘special conditions’ warranting a deviation from the standard thirty-minute meal period exist, Defendants have failed to identify them.”
The New York Times is reporting that Costco Wholesale, the warehouse club, has been sued by a California worker alleging false imprisonment because, she says, employees are locked in stores against their will for 15 minutes after they are off duty.
The complaint, which seeks to represent several hundred Costco workers in California, asks for $50 million in back pay plus damages from 2005 until the present.
To read the full story, go to the New York Times website.