A proposed class action in California court alleges that Costco Wholesale Corp. doesn’t provide compensation for rest or meal breaks. The former employee making the allegations further claims that the discount retail giant retaliated against him when he reported sexual harassment to supervisors. Lead plaintiff is Micah Ornelas. Micah claims that warehouse employees were not provided with rest and meal periods and were not compensated for breaks as mandated in California law. Micah also claims that he was fired when he reported instances of both sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions to his direct supervisor.
The plaintiff claims that as a result of Costco’s labor law violations, he has suffered and will continue to suffer:
- Economic damages
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish/embarrassment
- Manifestation of physical symptoms related to the case
In addition to his own personal experience with a failure to respond to reports of sexual harassment, Ornelas claims that a female employee was harassed and physically threatened by the supervisor and told to “keep quiet” about the incident after reporting the problem. When the warehouse manager was approached about the problem, Ornelas claims that he was told the direct supervisor would be fired. Instead he was promoted. When Ornelas went back to the warehouse manager with concerns over this “resolution” he also informed him of unsafe working conditions (that had been discussed in pre-shift meetings previously with not action taken to remedy the situation by management). He was told that the harassment complaint was none of his business. Ornelas was suspended for three days. Upon returning from his suspension, Ornelas was subjected to sexual harassment as well.
Ornelas complained one last time about instances of sexual harassment, which resulted in his immediate termination without explanation. Ornelas claims that he was not paid all his wages upon termination.
If you have unfair wage and hour practices in force at your place of employment, contact Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik to quickly remedy the situation.