Fighting for your rights takes courage. Just because federal and California state laws lay out some basic standards for proper and fair compensation for workers, holding employers accountable to those standards can be a challenge. Employers may vary under the different jurisdictional levels. While that might explain when violations occur, it does not excuse them.
Infringements can occur in many ways. Failure to pay minimum wage is one. State law requires overtime to be paid for any time worked beyond eight hours in one day. If you are on call, the law says you deserve to be paid for that time. But how many workers know these or their other rights? It highlights the value of consulting an experienced attorney.
Getting representation proved helpful for a group of ship repair workers in San Diego. Their employer might not be of the same opinion, but because of the workers’ efforts, and one worker in particular, employees are in line to recover $2.9 million.
At the heart of the dispute was the claim by the chief plaintiff and more than 1,900 of his colleagues that they were denied a 30-minute meal break called for by law. They alleged the company counted against workers the time it took for them to file out of work sites, turn in tools and clear security checks. The workers also claimed they had to buy work clothes from the company without being reimbursed for them.
The company denied any wrongdoing but did participate in settlement talks. Recently they brought the fruits of those labors to a federal court and the $2.9 million price tag earned court approval, settling the suit.