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California class action suit filed over wage and hour violations

Roughly 800 current or past assistant managers and sales associates who worked for General Nutrition Corp. could receive overtime pay under California's labor laws, if a class-action suit is successful. A former employee who worked for GNC in California has twice amended his complaint originally filed in July of 2011, which claims that GNC employees who worked shifts involving the closing of the company's retail stores were not appropriately paid for overtime per California law. The complaint alleges employees were not compensated for some tasks that were completed after employees were required to clock out after a shift.

Earlier this month, a California federal judge granted the case class-action status. Originally the case included managers and senior managers in addition to assistant managers and sales associates; however the judge ruled the class certification as partial, removing the managers and senior manager employees from being able to opt in on the case. The suit alleges two class-actions in the case, the first, which has been certified by the court, deals with overtime violations as specified in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The second class-action alleges violations of meal and rest period requirements, off-the-clock violations and related violations on behalf of California GNC workers. The suit claims that GNC does not pay its employees for certain store closing duties, such as making off-site bank deposits after logging off the register and clocking out from their shift. This is in violation of overtime laws. The lawsuit also claims that GNC employees are required to accurately report their work hours but does not provide any formal training on how employees are to report hours so they can be paid for the closing duties they perform.

According to one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, the company discourages employees from reporting work hours beyond what they are actually scheduled for, as well as discourages overtime. The discouraging of overtime along with a lack of written policies or training on this issue results in employees working overtime without pay across the country, not just in California. In the class ruling earlier this month, the judge said that GNC did not provide any evidence it had written policies that specified the procedures for employees to be paid for time spent performing closing duties after they were required to clock out.

Source: Lawyers and Settlements, "General Nutrition Corp Employees Filed California Labor Lawsuit," Jane Mundy, Jan. 16, 2013

Our San Jose, California, law firm represents employees in a wide range of employment law issues, including wage and hour disputes under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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