Naperville Business Attorney Discusses a Developing Wage-Related Class-Action Lawsuit

class-action, Naperville business law attorneyWhen you own and operate a business, you assume certain responsibilities to your employees. Some of them are ethical and moral obligations, such as treating each one with dignity and respect, regardless of his or her personal background. Others are legal requirements, such as those that pertain to the payment of wages for hours worked. Too often, companies try to cut financial corners by skimming hours here and there from employees’ wages in an attempt to pare down labor costs and to increase profits.

As a business law attorney, I understand that management and company owners must take every reasonable step to save money and to keep costs to a minimum. There is, however, no good reason to refuse to pay employees for hours they have worked, yet the practice seems to continue on a fairly regular basis around the country. High-profile companies are no exception, as nearly 10,000 current and former Chipotle workers are now suing the Mexican restaurant chain for wage theft.

Automatically Clocked Out

The current class-action suit began as several separate suits that were bundled together into a single case. One of the lead plaintiffs is a former Chipotle manager from Colorado who says she was forced to work without pay and was required to make the team under her do the same to reduce labor costs.

According to reports, most of the unpaid hours are related to closing time. Employees say that the restaurant’s timekeeping system automatically clocks closing workers out at a certain time—often midnight or 12:30am—but there is still work to be done to clean the store or prepare for the next day. Workers who stay to finish up are supposed to have their hours adjusted by management but claim that such adjustments simply are not made.

Widespread Problem

This is not the first time that Chipotle has faced legal action over its payment of hourly wages, but it is the first class-action suit against the fast-food chain. The company—which has famously refused to franchise so as to keep closer control over its business practices—has claimed that its policies are fine but that a few managers are just not complying with them. The numbers seem to indicate that such may not actually be the case. Chipotle currently operates just over 2,000 stores, yet nearly 10,000 current and former employees from around the country have joined the class-action suit.

The company maintains that it complies with all labor regulations and says that it will continue to fight the lawsuit.

Protecting Your Business

If, as a business owner, you fail to comply with labor and wage laws, you place your company at serious risk. Contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney to discuss a compensation plan that balances the needs of your employees with those of the company. Call The Gierach Law Firm today at 630-756-1160 to schedule a confidential consultation.

 

Sources:

CNN Money

Entrepreneur

New York Daily News