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Taco Bell’s Request To End Overtime Claim Denied

LOS ANGELES — Taco Bell Corp.’s request to terminate an overtime class action lawsuit was denied recently in California federal court. The lawsuit was brought under California’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA), which allows private citizens to seek penalties from the state’s labor agency. In the lawsuit, former Taco Bell employees claim the company denied them meal breaks and overtime.

The Claim’s History

The Taco Bell class action lawsuit was initially filed in 2007. The initial lawsuit was later combined with other similar wage and hour lawsuits against Taco Bell in 2009. The consolidated cases alleged Taco Bell failed to provide meal breaks, to pay overtime, to pay for accrued vacation, and failed to pay employees within the state-mandated time period after employees were terminated. Because the cases were consolidated and there were numerous alleged violations, all presumably stemming from the same action taken by Taco Bell, there were a number of subclasses within the proposed class action.

In 2011, the court evaluated the evidence the employees provided in the collective lawsuits and denied certification of the two subclasses, alleging denied vacation pay and delayed pay after termination. One class eventually received certification in 2013. That class alleged Taco Bell violated the California state’s “late meal” break laws. This is the class action claim currently going forward. The claim also includes allegations of failure to pay overtime, improper wage calculations and delayed payments under the PAGA.

Taco Bell recently asked the court to throw out the current lawsuit because the plaintiffs had not exhausted all of their administrative remedies prior to bringing the lawsuit. The court disagreed, citing the plaintiffs’ notice letter to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, which outlined Taco Bell’s alleged violations. The letter put the agency on notice of the violations, which the PAGA requires before a citizen can take legal action.

Administrative Remedies

Administrative remedies are the various steps and options state and federal agencies offer and require prior to approving legal actions. These remedies are encouraged because they allow resolution of employment issues more quickly, more satisfactorily, and, usually, more efficiently than court proceedings. Administrative remedies generally must be exhausted before a court will approve a case to go to trial. For instance, employment agencies at both the state and federal levels require employees to submit complaints to the proper agency for investigation. The investigations usually lead to mediation to help resolve the situation; however court proceedings are sometimes required, as in this case.

Navigating the legal system and administrative requirements can be complicated. If you or someone you know has been denied proper overtime wages, 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, 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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