MONTE RIO, Calif. — Hundreds of current and former seasonal workers for an ultra-exclusive country club in Monte Rio, California recently settled an unpaid overtime lawsuit which could net each plaintiff approximately $8,000.
More than 600 workers employed from May 2011 to December 2014 will split their share of the $7 million lawsuit. Attorneys for the plaintiffs will take home an estimated $2 million in fees.
The plaintiffs were all employed by members of the Bohemian Grove club. Every year, the club holds a retreat where hundreds of members set up over 100 camps where they are tended to by valets serving as cooks, bartenders, and wait staff.
For 130-plus years, Bohemian Grove has served as the meeting place for a secretive, high-powered group of clientele which has included former presidents and celebrities. Each of the camps is comprised of dozens of individuals who have crafted their own traditions and cultures over the years.
Independent Contractor Misclassification
The plaintiffs claim they were wrongly classified as independent contractors and were denied various benefits including meal breaks and overtime wages.
The settlement came after 10-months of mediation between plaintiffs and the defendant and was spurred by interviews with former workers known as “valets” revealed the extent of the wage violations.
Independent contractors must exercise certain levels of control over their day to day operations or they must be treated as regular employees. Although it did not admit any wrongdoing, the settlement covers the meal breaks, overtime wages, and other benefits California employees are entitled to under state wage laws.
In addition to the financial compensation, Bohemian Grove also made several changes to its payroll and employment practices to ensure future valets for the retreat do not go without their legally mandated employment benefits.
Moves include hiring an outside payroll vendor to calculate hours and earnings. Previously, Bohemian Grove relied on individual members to pay their valets which is where the problem may have begun. However, the responsibility ultimately fell of Bohemian Grove to properly handle payroll matters.
California Overtime Pay Lawsuits
Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel that you and and other employees believe that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.
Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.