A proposed class action claims Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. has failed to properly pay California distribution center employees for all hours worked, among other alleged labor law violations.
The lawsuit claims the mega retailer has violated several provisions of the California Labor Code, including by failing to compensate workers for all time spent under Walmart’s control; denying them proper meal and rest breaks; rounding down their hours worked to Walmart’s benefit; and failing to pay them proper overtime wages.
According to the 40-page case, Walmart’s policy and practice is to require employees at its California distribution centers to work while off the clock. As a condition of employment, workers must submit to Walmart’s loss prevention measures by waiting in line to pass through security checkpoints after clocking out, the suit relays. Moreover, employees were similarly required to wait in line at the beginning of their shifts to have their temperatures checked as part of Walmart’s COVID-19 screening process before being permitted to clock in for work, according to the case. The lawsuit argues that time spent in security and health screenings went unpaid despite the fact that employees remained under Walmart’s control throughout the process and could not opt out.
Similarly, the lawsuit claims Walmart’s California distribution center employees were frequently required to work through their 30-minute off-the-clock meal breaks due to their “rigorous work schedules” and are thus owed unpaid wages for instances in which their breaks were interrupted or not taken. Further, the case alleges Walmart’s policy of prohibiting workers from leaving the premises during their 10-minute rest breaks deprived them of their right to be free of Walmart’s control during their breaks. Thus, the suit says, the breaks did not comply with California law, which the California Supreme Court specified requires employers to relieve workers of all duties and relinquish control over how they spend their time while on break. The case claims workers are owed one hour of premium pay at their regular pay rate for each missed meal or rest break.
The lawsuit goes on to argue that workers were denied proper overtime wages for the hours they worked in excess of 40 each week. Per the suit, Walmart failed to include employees’ incentive wages as part of their “regular rate of pay” when calculating their time-and-a-half rates and thus underpaid them for every overtime hour worked. Similarly, the defendant left out incentive pay, shift differential pay and bonuses when compensating employees for sick pay, according to the complaint.
The case further claims that Walmart failed to include on employees’ paystubs all the information required under California law, including the correct gross and net wages earned, and “from time to time” failed to pay workers within seven days of the close of the payroll period.
Finally, the suit claims Walmart “intentionally and knowingly” failed to reimburse workers for required business expenses, such as use of their personal phones for work-related purposes.
Initially filed in San Bernardino Superior Court, the lawsuit was removed to California’s Central District Court on September 9.
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