A proposed collective action claims Albertsons Companies, Inc. has failed to include the extra hazard pay workers received during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of their time-and-a-half overtime rates.
The 10-page case out of Delaware claims the grocery chain’s employees were, as a result, underpaid for the hours they worked in excess of 40 each week given the extra $2.00 per hour they received as “Appreciation Pay” was not factored into their regular pay rates for the purpose of calculating overtime.
Per the suit, Albertsons, who operates roughly 2,200 food and drug stores under the Albertsons, Safeway, Vons and Randalls names, has violated the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to include workers’ COVID-19 hazard pay as part of their overtime rates.
The case states that grocery stores were deemed essential businesses amid the pandemic and remained open while other stores were forced to close. To account for the additional danger its employees faced coming to work during the pandemic, Albertsons introduced hazard premiums, described as “Appreciation Pay,” of an additional $2.00 per hour, the suit relays.
According to the filing, the FLSA requires all forms of remuneration, including “such extra premiums as night shift differentials . . . and premiums paid for hazardous, arduous, or dirty work,” to be included in a worker’s regular rate of pay for the purpose of calculating their overtime rate—which should amount to 1.5 times their regular pay rate.
Albertsons’ failure to include the additional $2.00 hazard pay premium toward workers’ regular hourly rates when calculating their overtime wages is thus unlawful, the complaint alleges.
“As a result of Defendant’s willful failure to compensate Plaintiff and the Collective Action Members at a rate not less than 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for work performed in excess of 40 hours in a workweek, defendant has violated and continues to violate the FLSA,” the suit contests.
The case looks to represent Albertsons’ employees who were eligible for and received the $2.00 per hour hazard pay and whose overtime rates during that time did not account for their hazard pay as required by law.
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