Comcast Contractor Faces Settles Up to Resolve Allegations of Unpaid Overtime and Labor Law Violations

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O.C. Communications Inc., a Comcast Contractor that supplies tech talent, agrees to pay a $7.5 million settlement to resolve an unpaid overtime lawsuit. Court documents include allegations that company employees were not paid overtime, were denied meal breaks in violation of state labor law, and not reimbursed for business expenses (i.e., tools necessary for the job).

The federal overtime class-action lawsuit was filed in San Francisco naming O.C. Communications (a California firm) and Comcast as Defendants. The two Defendants agreed to settle the case after an extensive amount of litigation that included the production of 1.5 million documents related to the case. Both Defendants, while agreeing to pay the settlement amount identified above, continue to deny any wrongdoing.

One of the lead plaintiffs in the class action overtime lawsuit, Desidero Soto of Concord, California, claims that O.C. Communications scheduled him to complete 32 job stops during one workday even though the typical complete workday included a total of eight stops. Supervisors instructed him to work through meal breaks to make it work regardless of what he was required to write on official time sheets. He claims any time taken to eat during the workday was while driving from job to job and even then, he was required to be accessible by cell phone at all times and to respond to work calls at any time.

Another plaintiff in the class action lawsuit, Jacky Charles of Margate, Florida, was a tech for the Defendant from September 2016 through May 2017. He claims that he was required to buy his own wireless drill, drill bits, screwdriver, staple gun, and a variety of cables, and work clothes to fulfill his job duties. Hundreds of other techs presented similar claims to the court.

According to court records, the $7.5 million settlement that O.C. Communications and Comcast agreed to pay plaintiffs on March 1st could have the 4,500 techs splitting the amount (minus legal fees).

If you have questions about unpaid overtime or what constitutes a violation of labor law, the experienced employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP can help. Get in touch with the employment law office nearest you: San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange or Chicago.

Overtime Claims Filed By Offshore Oil Rig Workers: Governed by FLSA or California State Law?

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The Supreme Court recently ruled unanimously that state wage and hour laws do not apply to offshore drilling workers when federal law addresses the issue in question. In the recent case, Parker Drilling Management Services v. Newton, No. 18-389, the question the Supreme Court was asked to answer was whether California law governs minimum wage and payment for “standby time” for workers on oil rigs working in federal waters off the California shoreline.

When they held that California’s wage and hour laws do not apply, the Supreme Court rejected the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision. The Supreme Court concluded that under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), California state law is not applicable as surrogate federal law unless federal law presents a significant void or gap concerning the specific issue. The Supreme Court decision is a decided victory for companies currently operating or servicing oil rigs off the California coast in federal waters.

The Allegations Made in the Wage and Hour Case:

Brian Newton, the plaintiff in the case, worked on oil drilling platforms off the coast of California as an employee of Parker Drilling Management Services, Ltd. Newton alleges that he regularly worked 14-day shifts involving 12 hours of “on duty” hours per day and 12 hours of “standby” per day. During the standby hours, Newton claims he could not leave the platform, yet he was not paid for the standby hours.

Newton filed a class action lawsuit in California state court alleging that the company’s standby policies violated California’s wage and hour laws as well as other claims of labor law violations in connection to Parker Drilling’s failure to provide workers with pay for standby hours. After the case was removed to federal district court, parties involved agreed that the oil drilling platforms where Newton performed his job duties were covered under OCSLA.  

If you are dealing with issues of wage theft and you aren’t sure how to seek justice for the wages you have lost, please get in touch with one of the experienced employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP can help. Get in touch with the employment law office nearest you: San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange or Chicago.

Allegations of Failure to Pay Accurate Overtime Lead to Class Action Lawsuit Against VNA Hospice

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A recent class action lawsuit filed against VNA Hospice and Palliative Care of Southern California alleges that the company violated numerous California Labor Laws by failing to provide employees with proper overtime pay for hours worked.

According to their website, VNA Hospice & Palliative Care of Southern California offers hospice and palliative care in the home of patients, skilled nursing centers, assisted living facilities, or independent living facilities. Every patient is different. That's why caregivers employed by VNA SoCal help to create custom medical care plans for patients, setting personal goals, and providing palliative care to help manage both pain and symptoms. VNA SoCal caregivers offer a wide range of services from hospice-care to home health care to private duty care to senior care and more.

VNA Hospice and Palliative Care of Southern California Allegedly:

•    Failed to compensate hourly employees with the proper amount of overtime pay.

•    Failed to provide California employees with meal breaks as required by state law.

•    Failed to provide California employees with rest periods as mandated by California Labor Code.

The class action overtime lawsuit was filed on March 29, 2019. The lawsuit is currently pending in San Bernardino County Superior Court for the State of California (Case No. CIVDS1909598). In the complaint, plaintiffs claim that the company paid their non-exempt employees' non-discretionary incentive wages that were created based on employee performance. Plaintiffs further allege that according to the law, the various incentive wages provided to VNA Hospice's employees should have been included in the hourly rates of pay that were used in calculating overtime rates for the employees. Allegedly illegal overtime calculations on the part of the company left other non-exempt employees at VNA Hospice receiving inaccurate overtime wages for overtime hours worked.

The complaint filed against VNA Hospice also seeks penalties related to missed meal breaks. VNA Hospice allegedly did not have a company policy in place that enabled employees to take full, off-duty, thirty-minute, uninterrupted meal breaks before the end of the 5th hour of a shift as required by law.

If you are not paid overtime wages as required by California Labor Law or if you have questions about what to do when you experience labor law violations in the workplace, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

$1.3 Million Settlement to Settle Glasswerks L.A. Unpaid Wages Lawsuit

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California employees claimed another victory in a recent unpaid wages lawsuit, Fajardo v. Glasswerks L.A. The commercial glass manufacturer agreed to pay $1.3 million to resolve the class action filed on behalf of workers who claim the company failed to pay overtime and provide meal and rest breaks.

The claims apply to employees working for Glasswerks L.A. between 2012 and 2018 and affects more than 1,000 current and former employees. Each will end up receiving approximately $800, but some will see as much as $2,400 as a result of the settlement. Plaintiffs in the case claim the company shorted them on overtime and failed to provide meal and rest breaks and required by California Labor Law. 

Parties settled the case through private mediation with few details offered to the public. In spite of the lack of information, the settlement supports the continued efforts of the California courts to protect the rights of employees and their legally protected pay.

According to California Labor Law, nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime when they work over eight hours in one day or 40 hours in one week. Nonexempt workers are entitled to a 30-minute uninterrupted, duty-free meal break when they complete more than 5 hours in a shift (on one workday) as well as a 10-minute uninterrupted, duty-free rest break for every 4 hours worked. While the rules seem straightforward, there are often complications. Most confusion regarding these specific labor laws come from the determining who is covered by the protections of the law and which hours count. For instance, independent contractors (rather than employees of the company) do not receive wage and hour law protections. Managerial employees are also exempt.

Another common issue for California wage and hour law involves determining which hours should be counted when determining how many hours an employee has worked in one workday or how many hours they have worked in one workweek. (According to the law, more than 8 hours in one day or more than 40 hours in one workweek require employees to provide overtime compensation). According to recent California court decisions, employers should include small amounts of off-the-clock work time when counting employee hours towards overtime totals. On-call time should also be included even when the employee is not required to be present on the job site. For instance, employees who are required to be on-call at night must be paid for their time even if the employee is asleep during their time on call. Employees asked to take care of simple tasks while on lunch break must have their time count toward wage and overtime calculations and payment.

If you have questions about why you are not receiving overtime pay you are due, or if you have experienced other California Labor Law violations in the workplace, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP. We have the experience you need on your side to protect your wage and hour rights and help you gain the compensation you deserve.

California Protection and Investigation Services, Inc. Faces Overtime Pay Allegations

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A class action overtime lawsuit recently filed in California (Case No. 19STCV14719) alleges that California Protection and Investigation Services, Inc. failed to pay overtime. Security guards employed at the company filed the proposed class action complaint against the security services company.

Plaintiffs in the suit claim that California Protection and Investigation Services, Inc. failed to provide meal and rest periods for employees.

The Proposed Class Action Against California Protection and Investigation Services, Inc.: Overtime Violations

•    The company failed to provide mandatory meal and rest breaks to security staff.

•    Failed and Continued to Fail to Accurately Calculate and Pay Employees for Overtime Hours

•    Intentionally and Knowingly Failed to Compensate Employees at the Correct Rate of Pay for Overtime as a Matter of Company Policy

According to the proposed class action’s allegations, California Protection and Investigation Services, Inc.’s security guards claim they were unable to take off duty meal breaks because their work schedules were too rigorous and did not allow for the required meal breaks.

To comply with California labor laws, employers must provide employees who work for more than five hours during a shift with a thirty-minute uninterrupted meal break before the end of the employee’s fifth hour of work. They must also provide the employee with a second uninterrupted meal break when an employee is working a shift of 10 hours. According to the complaint, the security company did not provide additional compensation to the security guards who forfeited their mandatory meal breaks even though additional compensation is required by law in this situation.

If you have questions about what to do when your employer is violating California Labor Code or if you are not being provided with proper overtime compensation, please get in touch with the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP today.

Spectraforce Technologies, Inc. Faces California Overtime Lawsuit

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Spectraforce Technologies, Inc. is facing a class action lawsuit alleging that the company failed to provide required meal and rest periods, as well as overtime wages to employees. The class action overtime lawsuit is pending in the Santa Clara County Superior Court (Case No. 19CV346604).  

Employees Claim that Spectraforce Technologies, Inc. Violated Labor Law by:

•    Failing to Accurately Calculate and Pay California Non-Exempt Employees for Overtime

•    Continuing to Inaccurately Calculate and Pay Overtime Wages

•    Failing to Accurately Calculate Wages for Overtime Hours Worked

•    Failing to Provide Plaintiff and Other Class Members with Required Rest Periods

•    Failing to Provide Employees with Off-Duty Meal Breaks when Completing Shifts of over 5 hours

Non-Exempt Employee: An employee who is entitled to overtime pay according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers are required to pay time and a half the employee’s regular rate of pay when they complete more than 40 hours of work in any given week.

Overtime Rate of Pay: According to California State Law, employers are required to provide employees with overtime compensation at one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay.

Overtime Pay Calculations: To accurately calculate overtime pay, employers must start by determining the employee’s regular rate of pay. The regular rate of pay should include the hourly rate plus any value associated with nondiscretionary bonuses, shift differentials, and other specific forms of compensation.

Meal Break Law Requirements: If a California employee works more than 5 hours in a day, they are entitled to a meal break of at least 30 minutes. The meal break must begin before the end of the fifth hour of the shift. Employees can agree with their employer to waive the meal break is they do not work more than 6 hours in a workday.

If you need additional information about the class action lawsuit against Spectraforce Technologies, Inc. or if you need answers to questions about wage and hour law or receiving just overtime compensation, please get in touch with the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP today.

Prestigious Horse Training Facilities’ Owner Ordered to Pay $1.3M in Back Wages

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Thirty migrant workers were awarded close to $1.3 million in back wages after allegations were made against two prestigious horse training facilities in the Bay Area and their owner. Kevin Chambers, owner of the Portola Valley Training Center in Menlo Park and Gilroy Gaits in Hollister under EWC & Associates Inc., faced claims of violating work visa program regulations and California labor law through his failure provide workers with federally mandated minimum wage and overtime wages. In addition, he allegedly housed his workers in substandard living conditions for years.

In this case, the 30 migrant workers who were provided with substandard living conditions were housed in converted horse stables that did not even have running water. The workers were H-2B guest workers that were brought into the country under temporary visas in order to fill non-agricultural jobs. According to court documents, employers are owed back wages for various lengths of time during 2015-2018.

The lawsuit was filed against Chambers in the Northern California District of the U.S. District Court in January and alleged that he did not pay his workers when their wages were due, did not pay them required industry standard wages, and other violation allegations. According to court documents, the case was settled shortly after the suit was filed.

Other issues of interest in the case include Chambers’ failure to keep records of overtime worked, deductions made from workers’ pay, and that he required workers to pay back visa processing fees and the costs of transportation to and from their home countries. On the Portola Valley Training Center in Menlo Park website, the facility is described as a 60-acre facility that is a “home to world class trainers and horses.” The facility includes multiple arenas (both jumping and flat), a 5/8 racetrack, an on-site veterinary clinic and 40 acres of land for off-training day rides.

According to the settlement agreement, Chambers will provide $1.27 million in back wages to the 30 migrant workers, as well as $100,000 in civil penalties. Chambers is also barred from applying for any labor certifications (including the previously accessed H-2B guest worker program) for a period of one year.

If you have questions about how to file a California overtime suit or if you are not being provided with minimum or overtime wages as required by law, please get in touch with one of the experienced employment law attorneys at California’s Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.