Leslie’s Poolmart Drowning in Ruling of Unfair Labor Practices

by Norman B. Blumenthal on January 24, 2014

Last Friday, January 17th, Leslie’s Poolmart was ordered to cease and desist from certain activities by Judge Lisa D. Thompson of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In particular, the company was requiring all employees to sign mandatory Arbitration Agreements, which directly violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act. Leslie’s was attempting to force employees to confront employment issues as an individual rather than a collective, class action, which violates the employees’ Federal rights.

employment attorney CaliforniaThe case – brought by the California employment lawyers at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik (BNB) – obtains a landmark decision from the NLRB, overruling the decision of the 5th Circuit in D.R. Horton.  BNB calls this a “momentous decision restoring employees' substantive right to bring concerted class claims against employers for wage and hour violations.”  No longer will the employers through boilerplate class action waivers in employee handbooks be allowed, as part of their arbitration clause, to preclude class actions and any other type of concerted activities of the employee.  As a result of this decision, BNB “expects that the United States Supreme Court will have no choice but to enforce the substantive national labor protection laws as written to protect the rights of the employees on this uneven playing field to bring class actions.”

This issue was originally brought to light after BNB opened an overtime class action lawsuit alleging Leslie’s of illicitly miscalculating overtime wages. This case, titled Cunningham v. Leslie’s Poolmart, Inc. is pending in the US District Court, in the Central District of California. Once this complaint was filed, Leslie’s attempted to have it compelled due to the Arbitration Agreement signed by the plaintiff. Thankfully, BNB recognized this as a violation of the National Labor Relations Act and filed another complaint.

BNB is encouraging anyone with what may be a wage and hour claim for unpaid or underpaid time, or unreimbursed expenses to contact them immediately.

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