A proposed collective action alleges automotive equipment company Weco, Inc. has failed to pay proper wages and unlawfully fired an employee who took sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
The lawsuit, filed by one current and one former employee, claims Weco and its owner have violated state and federal law by failing to pay employees for every hour worked and refusing to pay the plaintiffs for sick leave after their potential exposures to the coronavirus.
One of the plaintiffs says he currently works as an hourly paid field technician who is primarily responsible for servicing the defendants’ automotive equipment. Per the case, the plaintiff has regularly worked between 60 and 70 hours per week yet has been paid for only 40 weekly hours. The plaintiff claims that when he complained about the disparity between his actual time worked and the hours recorded on his paystubs, Weco thereafter removed his hours worked from his paystubs. Moreover, the plaintiff’s pay was at one point listed as “commission” with no relation to the number of hours he worked, the suit alleges.
The case further claims that Weco told the field technician plaintiff that he would only be paid for time spent actually performing repairs for customers and not for time spent driving between job sites or completing any other tasks. The plaintiff says he and other field technicians have not been paid for certain jobs, including when customers have failed to pay their bills or when he was required to complete a second assignment in an area where he was already working.
The workers have also sometimes not been reimbursed for the money they’ve spent on parts for repairs, such as when a factory sent the wrong part and “refused to take it back,” the lawsuit alleges. The plaintiff adds that field technicians are only paid for their mileage when they’re 30 miles or more from their residences, which occurs rarely, per the case. These allegedly unreimbursed expenses have caused field technicians to kick back the costs of their work to the defendants, leading to additional overtime violations, according to the suit.
The second plaintiff, a roving technician who was employed by Weco from October 2019 to March 2020, says the defendants overstepped the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) by failing to pay for sick leave when he and the other plaintiff were forced to quarantine due to possible exposure to the coronavirus. While the first plaintiff allegedly missed three to five days of work while awaiting negative test results after a COVID-19 outbreak at his children’s school, the second plaintiff had to quarantine for two weeks after returning from travel in March 2020, per the advice of health professionals, according to the case. In both cases, the defendants allegedly failed to pay the plaintiffs for sick leave as required under the FFCRA.
The second plaintiff goes on to allege that he attempted to contact the defendants after his two-week quarantine but “was unable to do so.” After the plaintiff was not assigned any jobs for three weeks, the case says, he eventually applied for unemployment benefits before he was then contacted by the defendants with a letter of termination. The lawsuit says the plaintiff was unlawfully terminated for taking leave in accordance with the FFCRA.
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