Lawsuits for Cannabis Growers, Cultivators: Were You Paid Properly?
Last Updated on March 17, 2021
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are no longer investigating this matter. The information here is for reference only. A list of open investigations and lawsuits can be viewed here.
- March 17, 2021 – Investigation Closed
- Thank you to everyone who helped contribute to this investigation. Unfortunately, attorneys working with ClassAction.org are no longer reviewing potential claims on behalf of marijuana cultivators. If you have questions regarding your rights, please reach out to an attorney in your area. Most offer free consultations.
The information below was posted when the investigation began and remains for reference only. Our open list of investigations can be found here.
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Anyone working in the cannabis industry as a harvester, bud trimmer, grower, cultivator, technician or similarly titled employee.
- What’s Going On?
- Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether workers in the cannabis industry are being paid properly. If not, these workers may be able to file class action lawsuits against their employers.
- How Can a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
- A class action lawsuit could help workers recover unpaid wages and require the company to correct any illegal wage practices.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org have opened an investigation into whether workers who grow, cultivate or otherwise tend to marijuana are being paid properly.
A handful of lawsuits have been filed alleging that workers in the cannabis industry are being underpaid, deprived of breaks and otherwise having their legal rights violated.
In light of these claims, attorneys working with our website would like to speak to anyone who currently or formerly grew marijuana for retail sale and believes they may not have been paid properly by the companies they work or worked for.
Specifically, attorneys are investigating claims on behalf of people who held the following job titles:
- Assistant Grower
- Cannabis Grow Technician
- Cannabis Harvester
- Cultivation Manager
- Cultivation Site Worker
- Cultivation Supervisor
- Master Grower
- Bud Trimmer
- Plant Breeder
This list is not exhaustive.
What Practices Are Under Investigation?
Working more than 40 hours a week without getting overtime pay. Most workers are entitled to receive time-and-a-half overtime pay when working more than 40 hours in a single week. Only a handful of employees are exempt from receiving overtime wages.
Working before or after your shift without extra pay. Workers, including those in the cannabis industry, need to be paid for all time spent working – even if this work occurs outside of their scheduled shifts. Companies are required to track their employees’ hours to help ensure they’re being paid properly.
Working “off the clock.” Just because you’re working and “off the clock” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be paid for your time. All time spent working must be paid.
Working through lunch breaks without pay. Companies may automatically deduct time for workers’ lunch breaks. But if the employee is working – even partially – during their break, the time should be paid.
Being paid an improper rate for overtime work. For those who are earning overtime for their extra hours, it’s important to make sure you’re being paid at the right rate. An employee’s overtime rate should be calculated based on all forms of compensation, such as bonuses or shift differentials, and not just their hourly rate.
Not getting overtime pay while working on a day-rate basis. Being paid a “day rate” does not mean you are automatically ineligible for overtime pay. If you are paid a fixed amount per shift – but are working more than 40 hours per week – you most likely should be earning time-and-a-half overtime.
Being classified as a “manager” without handling any managerial tasks. If you have a managerial title – such as a “cultivation manager” – it’s important to make sure your duties match your job title. Some companies may give people the “manager” title because they think this will exempt them from receiving overtime pay. If the worker’s job duties don’t live up to this title, however, they must be paid overtime.
Do Cannabis Companies Have to Follow the Law?
Yes. Even though marijuana is illegal on a federal level, this does not mean companies that grow and sell it are not obligated to comply with federal labor laws. In fact, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this sentiment in a September 2019 ruling.
How Can a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
A class action lawsuit can help workers who were robbed of proper pay get back the money they are owed. Further, the court could order a company to cease any illegal wage practices.
Can I Be Fired?
Federal law strictly prohibits companies from retaliating against employees simply because they’ve exercised their legal rights.
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