Petaluma Poultry Facing Lawsuit

The Petaluma Poultry lawsuit seeks class action status. The lawsuit was filed against Petaluma Poultry and its parent company based on allegations the company violated a number of different wage and labor laws throughout the previous four years of their business practices.

The original complaint was filed June 9, 2017 in Sonoma County Superior Court on behalf of employees, both former and current, asserting that they were not paid overtime wages. Plaintiffs assert that the company, Petaluma Poultry, failed to pay overtime and compensate their workforce for the time they spent changing out of protective gear when their shifts were completed. Additional claims allege that the poultry company did not provide their employees with the required 30-minute meal breaks. They also claim that when required meal breaks were missed (or not provided) that the company did not provide the employees with compensation.

Each individual violation can be considered “small” on its own. But when taken as a whole and applied across the entire population of Petaluma Poultry workers, they had a significant effect over time. Plaintiffs’ legal counsel notes that this is the exact situation that is well suited for class action procedure.

The original complaint was filed on behalf of Angelica Gutierrez. Gutierrez worked in Petaluma’s production department at the processing plant from 2011 through 2016. During that time, 200 or more workers may have been impacted by the alleged violations.

The lawsuit seeks unpaid compensation on behalf of employees who worked overtime and missed meal breaks, etc. It also seeks penalties, damages and attorneys’ fees as is standard. The plaintiff brought the suit against the poultry company in order to protect her rights as an employee as well as to protect the rights of her co-workers in accordance with the California labor code.

In addition to Petaluma Poultry, the lawsuit also names Delaware-based Coleman Natural Foods and Maryland-based Perdue Foods, owner of both Petaluma and Coleman. The spokesman for the companies declined to comment, as litigation is pending. Although the spokesman did reference Perdue Foods’ statement on wages and working conditions posted on the company website.

The statement posted on the company’s website reads, “We continue to comply with all applicable wage and hour laws and regulations, including those related to minimum wage, overtime compensation, piece rates, and any/all legally mandated benefits. Further we ensure all associates work within the limits of regular and overtime hours. Where overtime is required, those associates are normally granted at least one day off in every seven-day period.”

There are 563 workers employed by Petaluma Poultry. The majority of the workers are hourly and unionized.

If you have trouble obtaining your overtime compensation or if you work overtime without receiving overtime compensation, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.