Working for a large corporate employer is often a difficult position for entry-level employees. Many workers assume that the policies such companies have in place are legal and enforceable. After all, the company surely employs an army of attorneys to make sure it complies with the law. Still, many Starbucks employees learned recently that the coffee shop giant may have instituted illegal labor practices for hundreds -- or even thousands -- of its workers.
Now, many of those same workers may soon join a class action lawsuit alleging that the company required illegal overtime work without pay, if an ongoing suit against the company succeeds. In fact, many com009panies throughout the country may quickly reconsider some of the widespread business practices currently in place l throughout service industries and other sectors.
If you face unfair practices at work, such as performing any work-0related activities without compensation, then you may have grounds for a lost wages claim of your own. Be sure to carefully review the specifics of your circumstances in light of the law to understand how you can better protect your rights and those of many workers in your same position.
Corporate practices may rob employees of earned wages
In their lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that Starbucks required him to perform numerous tasks as a part of his job after he clocked out for a shift. These tasks included
- Store closing procedures
- Transmission of daily sales data
- Escorting coworkers safely to their vehicles
- Locking the establishment
These tasks reportedly took between five and ten minutes per shift to complete. While such a sacrifice seems negligible to many people in the moment, these five- and ten- minute increments accrue. Over the time that he worked for the company, the plaintiff alleges he accumulated roughly one and half days of unpaid overtime.
While these things may feel like the kind of small concessions that one accepts in order to obtain or keep a job, they are work performed as part of employment, ostensibly without pay. If he refused to perform these tasks after clocking out, the company could terminate him for failing to abide by its guidelines and procedures.
Protecting your own rights
You may face similar unfair expectations from an employer, even if the details differ markedly. Many employers use excuses like "that's just how we do it" or "that's standard in this industry," neither of which have any real bearing on the law.
If you believe that an employer owes you back pay, you owe it to yourself to research the legal options you have available to protect your own wages and promote fair practices in the workplace for all workers.