Tesla faces a proposed class action in which a former employee claims that the electric car maker failed to pay wages for off-the-clock work and provide required meal and rest breaks.
The 20-page lawsuit states that Tesla required employees to fill out COVID-19 questionnaires on their personal cell phones prior to clocking in for each shift. According to the suit, the questionnaires took roughly two to four minutes to complete and, in aggregate, resulted in “a disproportionate underpayment of minimum and overtime wages.”
Moreover, the case claims that because of Tesla’s staffing and scheduling practices, lack of coverage and work demands, employees were deprived of uninterrupted 30-minute meal breaks when they worked more than five hours, or a second meal break when they worked more than 10 hours. Similarly, the workers were denied 10-minute rest breaks for every four hours worked, as required by California law, the lawsuit alleges.
The suit further contends that Tesla failed to pay workers one hour of compensation at their regular rate for each instance in which they were denied a timely, legally compliant break.
According to the suit, Tesla employees are also owed reimbursement for expenses associated with using their personal cell phones for work purposes, including to complete the COVID questionnaires, call customers and respond to work emails.
The plaintiff says he worked for Tesla as a service assistant from October 2018 to May 2021 and was responsible for retrieving cars, assisting customers, opening the shop, charging cars, preparing the vehicles for pickup and dropping off vehicles at customers’ homes.
The plaintiff looks to represent anyone who worked for Tesla as a non-exempt employee or in an equivalent position in California at any time within the past four years and until this action is resolved.
The lawsuit was initially filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in February but was removed to California’s Central District Court on May 9, 2022.
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