The wage and hour lawsuit was filed February 21, 2023 in California federal court by five plaintiffs who have worked for Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s (Bloomingdale's Inc. is a subsidiary of Macy's Inc.) in California as either sales associates or inventory control specialists. The proposed class action is seeking to represent more than 1,100 current and former similarly situated hourly employees at the California stores within the last four years.
Plaintiffs Ha Nguyen, Alex Bhagatram, Alicia Taylor, Soraya Lodin, Teyani Cisneros, and Michael Webster allege that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s regularly require employees to work outside of scheduled shifts – work that is uncompensated and unrecorded. Employees typically work seven to eight hours per shift, with five shifts per week, and they are expected to "constantly be on call" in order to make sales.
Workers were required to work off-the-clock, which included calling and texting –on their personal cellphones--with current or potential customers to facilitate sales, calling and texting with supervisors or coworkers about work-related subjects, and attending online conferences and training to learn about new products and work policies. "Plaintiffs and class members are further required to use their personal computers and internet data to attend online conferences and trainings as mandated by defendants," without reimbursement for their internet data plans or other expenditures, according to the lawsuit.
According to the complaint:
- Workers were automatically deducted 30 minutes for meal breaks, even though they often worked through meal and rest periods, because they were expected “to adhere to a demanding level of customer service, causing them to constantly remain on-duty to facilitate sales and address the needs of customers.”
- When workers were compensated for overtime, it was incorrectly calculated using the employees' lower hourly base rates instead of the higher rate that includes their sales commission, as required by law. Ditto in "the rare instance" that workers received meal and rest premiums on their paychecks to compensate for a missed break.
- The stores failed to maintain true and accurate records of the hours worked by the hourly employees, and workers’ wage statements “do not reflect the correct amount of gross and net wages earned, including overtime premiums and premium payments.”
The Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s labor-law class action lawsuit is Nguyen, et al. v. Bloomingdale’s LLC, et al., Case No. 3:23-cv-00768, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Two More Macy’s Wage and Hour Lawsuits
In 2016, former Macy’s employee Yulie Narez filed an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit, claiming Macy’s violated California’s overtime law, which included paying the employees the state minimum wage rate and the appropriate overtime rate. Narez accused the retailer of “systemic illegal employment practices,” by withholding unpaid wages for mandatory security checks of their bags before meal breaks and after their shifts ended. Further, Macy’s failed to pay employees who worked five hours or longer a 30-minute meal break, as well as 10-minute rest breaks for every three and half hours of work.
The case, Yulie Narez v. Macy’s West Stores, Inc., Case No. 5:16-cv-00936, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, was moved to federal court because the amount in question could be more than $5 million.
The Narez complaint is similar yet another wage and hour class action lodged against Macy’s back in 2011. A California employee attempted to certify a class of 84,000 workers who had allegedly had not been compensated for full wages. In 2014 the complaint was sent to mediation.
Overview of California Overtime Law
Currently, California law requires that employers pay overtime, whether authorized or not, at the rate of one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight up to and including 12 hours in any workday, and for the first eight hours of work on the seventh consecutive day of work.
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California employment law also allows all nonexempt employees who work over five hours a 30-minute lunch break, 10-minute breaks every four hours, and a second 30-minute meal break if the employee works over 10 hours. Each meal break must be uninterrupted and duty-free for at least 30 minutes duration.
California labor lawyers advise workers to be aware of employment rights, especially those who work on minimum wage salaries.