Workers Claim Wage Theft at Fancy Terranea Resort

by Norman B. Blumenthal on November 15, 2017

blumenthal nordrehaug & bhowmik, southern california employment law, southern california employment law attorneys, wage theft, employment law attorney, wage theft lawsuit, wage theft suit, california wage theft suitThe ritzy hotel, Terranea Resort, located in Rancho Palos Verdes, is facing a lawsuit after workers claim they weren’t paid for time spent waiting to get their required uniforms prior to starting their shifts as well as time spent being transported from the remote parking lot reserved for employees to the hotel. Two workers filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, but could become a class action wage theft suit with the court’s approval. Class action status would mean the suit represented approximately 600 employees working at the ritzy resort.

The resort has not commented on the allegations included in the lawsuit, claiming that they had not seen the actual lawsuit, but they did state the they strictly abide by all labor laws and value their associates. They also noted the company’s commitment to fair treatment and compensation for worker time and dedication to the resort.

The wage theft lawsuit contends that the management at the resort violated California labor law when they required their workers to shot up for shifts 30 minutes prior to work start time in order to be bussed to the resort from the remote, employee parking lot without providing payment for the time spent on the company shuttle. The workers also allege in the suit that they were required to show up another 15 minutes early for their shifts at the resort in order to obtain and then change into their work uniform – with no compensation for the time they were required to spend doing so. That means that workers were “off the clock” for approximately 45 minutes prior to each shift. That is a significant amount of time to spend at work without compensation.

The main question being addressed is not new, but it is still being asked fairly regularly: At what point in time are workers considered “on duty” and earning their wage?

Other cases that delved into the same issue have had varying rulings:

2014: The Supreme Court ruled that Amazon was not obligated to pay workers in their warehouses for the time they spent undergoing security screenings when leaving work. This case focused on the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law, and the court found that the security screenings feel into an exemption included in the FLSA.

2000: The California Supreme Court found that agriculture workers who spend time commuting on employer buses to fields should be compensated for their time in transit. Legal counsel in the current case is using the ruling in this case to support the plaintiffs’ arguments.

If you have questions about off the clock work or if you feel that you need to discuss wage and hour law with a California employment law attorney, please get in touch with one of the lawyers at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik. 

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