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Chuck E. Cheese Wants Wage Claim Out Of State Court

SAN DIEGO — Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company, CEC Entertainment Inc., is seeking to move a wage lawsuit out of state court and into federal court. The class action lawsuit claims the company violated California wage laws when workers were denied overtime pay and rest breaks. The claim was filed in California state court in late January of this year.

Franchesca Ford, the lead plaintiff, claims employees were required to work off-the-clock. They were either denied or had to take delayed meal and rest breaks and their paychecks did not reflect the lost break times. Ford says this was frequently the case on weekends when the family entertainment restaurant was busy. Under California law, employees who work more than five hours a day must have at least a 30-minute meal break. This meal break should generally occur by the end of their fifth hour in order for the employer to comply with the laws.

In addition to denied overtime and break periods, workers allegedly did not receive all of the wages they were owed when they stopped working for the company. These wages included minimum wage, overtime, and “premium payment” for meal and rest breaks, which is required under California law. California’s “premium payment” for denied meal periods is equal to one hour of regular wages, even though meal periods only have to be 30 minutes. This is meant to encourage employers to provide meal breaks.

Wage claims, like the Chuck E. Cheese employees’, can be brought in both state and federal court. Usually if an employer violates state law, the case will be filed in the state court where the plaintiff lives and the law was violated. Frequently, employers who violate state wage laws will violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and claims can be filed in federal court.

However, there are situations where even if only state law is violated the case will still be in federal court. CEC Entertainment believes this case is one of those situations because of the amount of money at stake and because, even though the restaurants are in California, CEC Entertainment is not a “citizen” of California. CEC Entertainment is a “citizen” of both Texas and Kansas. Lawsuits between “citizens” of different states that have at least a certain amount of money at stake can be moved to or brought in federal court.

There are pros and cons related to individual cases, class actions, and filing in state or federal courts. If you believe you are owed overtime wages, our knowledgeable team of overtime pay lawyers can evaluate and help determine the best course of action for your situation. Contact us today at (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.

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