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Costco Faces Two Overtime Class Action Lawsuits

SAN DIEGO — Costco Wholesale Corp. is facing two overtime class action lawsuit. The first lawsuit was brought on behalf of pharmacists and department managers at Costco’s California stores. The second lawsuit was recently filed on behalf of warehouse employees, also at Costco’s California locations. The lawsuits claim numerous violations of California labor law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The Overtime Claims

In the first lawsuit, Paula Dittmar, a former pharmacy department manager, claims Costco denied employees proper rest and meal breaks. She also claims the company required pharmacists and department heads to work a significant amount of time off the clock without pay. She claims the off the clock work included working from home, while sick, on vacation, and traveling between stores for work related purposes.

Beyond the lack of breaks and off the clock work, Dittmar also claims the company failed to compensate employees for expenses related to work related travel and for unused vacation and unpaid wages when an employee was terminated. Dittmar’s lawsuit is seeking to represent all current and former nonexempt Costco pharmacists employed in California within the last four years, as well as current and former nonexempt department managers employed during the same time.

The lack of meal and rest breaks allowed Costco to avoid paying overtime to not only the pharmacists and department managers, but warehouse employees as well. Micah Ornelas, a former warehouse employee, brought the second lawsuit. He claims Costco failed to provide or pay employees for rest and meal periods. Not only did the company fail to provide appropriate rest and meal periods, it allegedly deducted meal breaks from employees’ time records, even when they worked through their “meal breaks.” He also claims the company did not pay him all of his wages when he was terminated. And he was not provided an accurate wage statement for the money he earned.

Meal Periods

Even if missed or shortened meal breaks do not seem like significant problems, if an employee is regularly denied proper meal and rest periods it can have a substantial impact on the number of hours recorded each week. While employers are not required to pay employees during their meal periods, if an employer records a meal period that an employee does not take, the employee will be shorted on “hours worked” which will reduce the employee’s earned wages and possibly deny the employee proper overtime.

If you believe you have been denied proper meal and rest periods and your employer owes you overtime pay, contact our knowledgeable team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795. Or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form and our experienced legal team will evaluate your case. If we accept your case, our No Fee Promise means there are no legal fees or costs for you unless you receive a settlement. There are strict time deadlines for filing lawsuits so it is important to contact an attorney immediately.

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