A proposed class and collective action claims the operator of Binny’s Beverage Depot failed to pay workers proper overtime wages during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the nine-page lawsuit, defendant Gold Standard Enterprises, Inc. promised to pay workers at its 45 Illinois liquor stores additional compensation (referred to in the complaint as “Covid Pay”) for continuing to work after the start of the pandemic. Although the increase in the employees’ regular pay rates should have caused their overtime rates to increase, the defendant failed to factor the Covid pay into workers’ time-and-a-half overtime rates and thereby “substantially underpaid” them for hours worked over 40 each week, the case alleges.
The suit claims Binny’s Beverage Depot’s pay practices violated both state and federal law.
“The [Fair Labor Standards Act] and [Illinois Minimum Wage Law] require overtime wages of one and one-half times employee’s ‘regular rate’ of pay, not the base rate for all overtime hours,” the complaint relays. “The extra $2/hour was called ‘Temp Bonus Pay’[;] it should have been included when calculating Plaintiff and other employees’ regular rate of pay.”
The lawsuit says that after the start of the pandemic, Binny’s Beverage Depot incentivized employees to continue working amid “dangerous work conditions” by offering additional premium pay rates, referred to by the company as “Temp Bonus Pay.” Per the suit, all hourly store associates were paid 1.5 times their base pay rate for all hours worked between March 15 and July 4, 2020 and an additional $2.00 per hour on top of their base pay rate for all hours worked between July 5, 2020 and January 2, 2021.
During these time periods, however, the defendant calculated employees’ overtime rates using their base rate of pay instead of their “regular rate of pay,” which should have included their additional wages, the case attests.
“The regular rate is computed by dividing an employee’s total compensation in the workweek by the total hour [sic] worked in the workweek and the regular rate includes all renumeration [sic] for employment paid to, or on behalf of, the employee,” the complaint explains.
According to the suit, the Department of Labor has stated specifically that hazard pay during the pandemic should be included as part of employees’ regular pay rates for the purpose of calculating time-and-a-half overtime rates. The case claims the defendant’s failure to include “Temp Bonus Pay” as part of workers’ regular rates has deprived them of their full overtime wages under state and federal law.
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