SAN FRANCISCO — Ma Laboratories Inc., an information technology distributor, will have to continue litigating the class action wage and overtime pay lawsuit its workers brought against it. The proposed class action recently received conditional certification from a California judge for both the overall proposed class and the subclasses it is divided into. The workers claim the company shaved time off of the hours they worked in violation of state wage laws. More than 550 employees are currently included in the certified class, the majority of which worked at the company’s headquarters in San Jose.
The Workers’ Claim
According to the workers’ claim, workers are provided a set schedule stating the times when their shifts begin and end, just like the majority of employees in the country. However, if the employee clocks in before the scheduled time or clocks out after the scheduled end of shift, the employee allegedly had to have received approval for the additional time. Furthermore, the time had to be changed manually by a system administrator.
The workers claim approval of extra time before a scheduled shift was rare and post-shift approvals typically only occurred if the time was more than 10 minutes, which was also rare. So if the worker did not get the rarely granted approval, they would not receive credit for all of their hours worked. However, Ma Labs timekeeping systems automatically allow deductions when the workers arrive late or leave early, with no approval needed.
The Court’s Decision
The California judge found that the workers were under Ma Labs’ control as soon as they had clocked in, whether or not they were doing actual work and whether or not the extra time was approved. According to the judge’s decision, even if the workers were smoking cigarettes and waiting around for instructions at the start of their shifts, once they were “on the clock” they were considered to be working and had to be paid. Ma Labs claimed some employees would clock in then go eat breakfast before starting work. The judge highlighted the fact that after clocking in, the workers were under the control of the Ma Labs and that control comes at the price of wages.
Knowing Your Rights
According to the workers’ attorney, many of the affected workers are immigrants with limited English skills, who are working for minimum wage. With limited English skills the workers likely have limited knowledge of their employer’s policies and their rights; however, an employee’s English skills are not always a factor in understanding employment rights. Understanding your rights regarding wages and hours is crucial.
If you have questions or believe your employer has wrongfully denied you credit for all of the hours you have worked, call our experienced 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, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.