A new class action lawsuit in California’s courts alleges that a major restaurant chain did not pay wages according to California law.
Two former workers at the restaurant came forward to file this case.
They have also promised further litigation under the Private Attorneys General Act. This Act provides individual workers with an avenue for relief when employers break the state’s labor and employment laws.
California law is strict about workers’ rights to wages, mandatory breaks
As many people know, California has several additional protections for workers when it comes to compensation and hours worked.
The workers who file this class action lawsuit allege that the restaurant deprived them of their meals and breaks. They also claim that their rightful wages and overtime pay went unpaid and that some of their wages got paid late.
A key detail in this litigation is the restaurant’s recordkeeping.
California employers are supposed to keep detailed records related to an employee’s wages and hours, including detailed timecard entries, for three years.
Practically speaking, without these records, it can be very difficult for anyone to know whether an employer paid their employees according to the law.
The timecards in this case would show whether an employee received proper pay for the time worked and whether the employer gave appropriate meal breaks.
On this point, the restaurant recently acknowledged in separate legal filings that a third party, which the restaurant had hired to keep these records, lost critical pieces of data.
It is an employer’s responsibility to document that they paid wages owed
Employers in California have the responsibility both to follow California’s wage and hour laws and to be able to document that they did so. Likewise, they must follow California’s laws concerning meals and breaks.
Even if an employer does not intentionally underpay their employees or deprive them of breaks, employees still deserve compensation for their missing wages as well as other remedies that California law gives them.