California courts recently heard accusations against a luxury skin care product manufacturing company, Crabtree & Evelyn Ltd. The Connecticut based company was founded in 1972. They have grown to include several hundred retail locations all selling a range of products: fragrances, soaps, lotions, home spa products, etc. Former employees claim that they were denied mandated meal breaks and rest periods. Three plaintiffs filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court: Irina Eremina, Fernando Hernandez and Lillian Zamora. The plaintiffs indicated that they believed Crabtree & Evelyn was in violation of California Labor Law when they failed to provide duty-free meal and rest periods. They also claim that the company manipulated pay stubs/time sheets to make it look as if breaks and meal breaks had been provided and used. In addition to not receiving their required break times, workers were not compensated for overtime accumulated by working through said breaks and meal breaks.
Proposed class is seeking a jury trial and financial restitution (for unpaid wages, attorney costs, etc.), but potential class members have not yet been defined. The three plaintiffs filed a grievance with California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency in February in an effort to settle the matter, but didn’t hear back within the 33-day period required prior to filing suit under California state law. This fulfilled the requirement (under California’s Private Attorney General Act) to exhaust all administrative remedies prior to presenting claims to the court.
If you fear you may need to talk to someone about potential violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) in your workplace, contact the experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik today.