CertifiedSafety, Inc., Chevron Corporation, Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Valero Energy Corporation, and Valero Refining Company-California have been named as defendants in a proposed class and collective action alleging Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California wage and hour violations. The lawsuit claims the defendants unlawfully denied meal breaks, failed to reimburse the plaintiff for work expenses, failed to pay the plaintiff after termination and withheld proper wages.
The suit was filed by an individual employed as a “safety attendant” by the defendants, who are all listed as joint employers of the plaintiff and are in the business of providing safety workers to oil refineries. The plaintiff alleges that he was not paid for mandatory job training that consisted of a 16-hour onboarding “orientation” by CertifiedSafety, annual 8-hour continued training sessions, and 8-hour training sessions for each new job assignment. The lawsuit also alleges that the plaintiff regularly worked before and after his scheduled shifts without compensation. From the complaint:
“When shifts are scheduled to end, Safety Attendants may not leave their post until another Safety Attendant relieves them. This typically does not occur until after their scheduled end times, and Safety Attendants frequently work fifteen minutes to an hour past their scheduled end times waiting for relief. Nevertheless, Safety Attendants are expected to clock out when their shift is scheduled to end, regardless of when they stopped working.”
In addition to time spent waiting for relief, the lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff had to perform pre-shift and post-shift activities such as putting on and removing protective gear. The plaintiff claims that he performed off-the-clock work for one hour and 15 minutes to two-and-a-half hours each workday.
Furthermore, the plaintiff alleges that improper deductions were made from his paycheck for uninterrupted meal breaks that he was unable to take. The lawsuit claims that “safety attendants” rarely take meal or rest breaks due to being constantly on call. Walking to and from designated meal sites at the refineries takes at least 30 minutes, the complaint says, which is included in the allotted break time.
The plaintiff is seeking to recover his allegedly unpaid wages as well as other damages pursuant to state and federal labor laws.