LOS ANGELES — A court provided initial approval of a $2.6 million settlement of a wage suit brought by employees against UniFirst Corp., a workwear and uniform supplier. The lead plaintiff, Evalia Mosqueda, brought the suit against the company on behalf of various classes of nonexempt employees, including truck loaders, secretaries, health physics technicians, and former employees who stopped working at the company within the past three years and did not receive payment of all wages due upon termination. The suit alleges that the company violated the California Labor Code during a four-year period through the way it compensated warehouse and facility employees.
Alleged Wage Violations
The plaintiff alleges that UniFirst Corp. employed a policy of rounding down the time employees actually worked instead of paying workers for the time recorded. Additionally, the suit claimed that the company provided payment on debit cards, which are subject to transaction fees. They also allegedly failed to give acceptable meal and rest breaks, failed to pay employees overtime, and failed to provide itemized pay stubs.
Rounding Down Time Worked
Under California law, employers are entitled to “round off: the amount of employee work time to a set fraction of an hour as long as the net impact on employee compensation is neutral and there is over time an equal amount of “rounding up” and “rounding down.” Time records of employee work hours do not need to be kept to the exact minute as long as the rounding off policy has a neutral effect.
This is similar to standards under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under FLSA, a rounding policy utilizing a fixed fraction of an hour up to one quarter (15 minutes) is permitted as long as there is equal rounding up and rounding down so that over the course of time the impact on the employees is neutralized.
Payment Using Debit Cards
Instead of getting paid through a live check or direct deposit, employees sometimes receive their payments on a debit card. Employees can use that debit card to make purchases, or can go to a bank or ATM to withdraw money. It would permit those who do not have bank accounts to bypass check-cashing services. However, it may impose costs to employees as many payroll debit cards are structured so that the cardholder pays fees on common transactions such as ATM withdrawals, balance inquiries, and even penalties for periods of inactivity. One federal court in California has ruled payroll debit card programs do not violate the California Labor Code when the employees are fully informed of the service and it is represented as an alternative method for wage payment for which their participation is optional.
if you are being denied the full amount of wages you are entitled to because of dubious company wage policies, you should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.