Starbucks Accused of Wage Theft
Coffee giant Starbucks is under scrutiny ever since a former employee of the Starbucks owned company, Evolution Fresh, filed a lawsuit against them claiming that the company doesn’t compensate employees fairly. The person who filed the claim works in the San Francisco Bay area. Walter Savinovich, a truck driver for the company, is seeking unpaid and back wages he claims the company withheld from him and other emploees. The suit is looking to receive class action status in order to represent all employees affected by the claim, which could be as many as 80 in the state of California.
The lawsuit, which was filed on August 7 of this year in Santa Cruz Superior Court, claims that Evolution Fresh and Starbucks routinely required that an employee be on call, but failed to compensate for that time, regularly deducted wages for a 30 minute meal break that the employees worked through, not providing paid break periods for their employees in addition to not paying their employees for any overtime hours worked. The suit includes many other violations of the California State Labor statute.
California state is far more generous to the employee than the federal laws are, and they are very specific when it comes to their labor laws and statutes. In California, any time an employee is on standby or on call and are required to stay at their workplace, they must be compensated. In some instances, employees must still be paid when they are off the work site, depending on how much being on call or on standby effects or limits their activities.
When it comes to meal periods, every employee who works more than five hours is supposed to receive an unpaid break of at least 30 minutes for meal time. However, if the employee, during that 30 minutes, is not relieved of all responsibilities, that employee is considered as being on call or on standby, and therefore must be duly compensated, as outlined in the statute. Rest periods are supposed to be given to any employee working longer than three and a half hours in a shift. Rest periods are to be paid at regular wages and are to last at least ten minutes.
In California, overtime is considered any hours worked over 40 in a week or eight hours in a day. Employees are allowed to work over eight hours in a day as long as they are paid time and a half between eight and twelve hours, and double their wages for any hours worked over 12. California state law requires an employer to pay for all overtime wages even if they are unauthorized or approved by the employer.
The suit against Starbucks and Evolution Fresh was filed not too long after other Starbucks employees complained about unfair scheduling practices. Some of those employees demanded that they be allowed to meet with Starbucks’ CEO Howard Shulz with the hopes that they could reach a compromise. There has been lawsuit filed in regards to that issue at this time.
To learn more about wage law, head on over to our Improper Compensation page.