Category: Wage & Hour Rights

Oakland Raiders Cheerleaders Sue for Wages

The Oakland Raiders have something more to worry about than just their last place standing in the AFC West Conference. Their cheerleaders have banded against them. The Raiderettes, as they are fondly known, are suing the Raiders for a variety of wages claims, including failure to pay all earned wages, failure to reimburse business expenses, and perhaps even minimum wage.

Lead plaintiff, “Lacy T.” alleges that the Raiders hold the cheerleaders’ pay until the end of season, and when they do get paid, not all hours worked are reflected in their compensation. Additionally, the women have to pay for their own make –up and hairstyling, two services that are mandated by the Raider’s Club, but are expected to pay for it themselves.  These expenses are cost upwards of $500. On top of those expenses, the Raiderettes must pay for their own traveling expenses to away functions and other work-related events like photo shoots.

The suit alleges that the women of the team only receive a yearly payment of $1,250, which is comically below the minimum wage. As Lacy T. states, “I love the Raiders and I love being a Raiderette, but someone has to stand up for all the women in the NFL…”

Model Behavior

Last week, a New York judge issued a historic decision to award a class of unpaid interns. In February 2013, Elite Model Management was sued by a former unpaid intern who claimed that the interns were executing the same kind of work as employees were. The plaintiff claimed that she and others similarly classified, were required to work over 40 hours per week, and of course, without pay. The interns were classified as non-employee so that they were not afforded the state and federal protections that an employee was entitled to. The plaintiff sought over $50 million in damages.

This all began back in February 2013, when intern Dajia Davenport concluded her four week internship term. She sought to file an individual lawsuit looking for the tall amount of reward, but the judge instead issued a more level class action award.

In the judgment, the plaintiff was awarded close to $450,000.  This is believed to be the largest award for an unpaid intern case in history. More than 100 former interns are set to receive a minimum payment of $700. Awards vary between $700 and $1,750, which covers minimum wage for the 100 individuals awarded for their four week period with Elite.

Attorney for Davenport stated that he believed this was a favorable sum for the class. “Elite is a reasonable company that decided to do the right thing” by choosing not to fight heavily and respecting the award.

This is not the first time a powerhouse media/fashion company has been slapped with these kinds of lawsuits. Two former interns with the W and The New Yorker filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of interns who were not paid minimum wage for the duration of their internships. Back in February 2012, a former intern with Harpers Bizarre sued for minimum wage and overtime claims.

If you find yourself in an internship program and feel you may have been misclassified, please contact an attorney immediately. The statute of limitations for possible wage claims is three years in the state of California.

The Battle of Minimum Wage Continues

We had previously reported that the state of California had passed measures to increase the state’s minimum wage. In a two increments, the minimum will raise from $8/hr to $10/hr by the year 2016. Now members of the Los Angeles Hotel labor movement are rallying to have their industry’s base pay to be set at a “livable wage.” To members, $15/hr should be the base rate that hotel workers operating in facilities with 100 or more rooms should be receiving as pay. The measure is supported by City Council members Mike Bonin and Nury Martinez.

Studies assert that this increase in wage could be an economic stimulus for the city. Workers could afford to spend more as they earn more and therefore build revenue for Los Angeles. A similar measure took place in 1999 for LAX, setting minimum wage for workers at $8.50/hr.

See’s Candy slapped with a class action



See’s Candy, the acclaimed candy retailer headquartered in San Francisco was recently slapped with a class action in San Diego Court. At the heart of the allegations was the candy store’s “rounding” policies with respect to their employees’ punch cards.

See’s, much like many other companies today, used an automated timekeeping system known as Kronos to keep track of employee time. Based on the hours lodged by employees on Kronos, See’s would calculate an employee’s pay after “rounding” the employee’s time to the nearest tenth, also taking into considerations the company’s grace period policy. After trial court granted summary judgment for employees, See’s filed an appeal.

The Fourth Appellate District reversed, shedding additional light on what constitutes an unlawful rounding policy. The Court held that a rounding policy will not be found unlawful if it is “fair and neutral” and does not result in underpayment of wages to the employee. Conversely, employees who are able to prove underpayment for their time are likely subjected to an unlawful rounding policy and may be entitled to recovery of penalties in addition to their unpaid wages.

Undocumented workers still entitled to recover unpaid wages

Two Federal Circuit Courts have this year opined on the issue of undocumented Plaintiffs and their rights to collect unpaid wages. In Lucas v. Jerusalem Café, LLC and Lamonica v. Safe Hurricane Shutters, Inc. the Courts found that undocumented and unauthorized aliens, despite their status, could still recover for underpayment and non-payment of wages.

In Lucas, the Court said, “There is nothing in the FLSA that would allow us to conclude that undocumented aliens, although protected by the Act, are nevertheless barred from recovering unpaid wages thereunder.” In this same regard, the Lamonica Court held that an undocumented worker’s “ability to recover unpaid wages under the FLSA does not depend upon his immigration status.”

The underlying principle here is clear and employees should not be hesitant to pursue actions for unpaid wages because of their residency status. If you do work, you should be compensated in accordance with the law.