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California Overtime: Panera 'Breadwinners' Await Settlement Approval

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San Bernardino, CABakery-cafe employees may be the breadwinners in California Overtime class-action lawsuits filed against Panera Bread Co. Class-action lawsuits filed in 2009 and 2011 claimed the franchise failed to pay overtime and provide breaks at some company or franchised stores in California, which are violations of the California Labor Law.

Panera disclosed in its periodic filing on Form 10-Q (November 2011) that it agreed to a proposed settlement of the class-action lawsuits against Panera by plaintiffs Nick Sotoudeh and Gabriella Brizuela (filed in the California Superior Court, Contra Costa County), and plaintiff David Carter (filed in the California Superior Court, San Bernardino County). The suits claimed that Panera—that owns and franchises bakery cafes nationwide, and operates in the St. Louis area as St. Louis Bread Co.—failed to pay overtime, failed to provide meal and rest periods and termination compensation, and violated California's Unfair Competition Law.

The company has reserved $5 million for the proposed settlement, which is conditioned upon final approval by the California Superior Court.

It is unclear how many employees were not paid overtime compensation, but here is an example of one employee alleging she was not paid overtime:

"I've been working at Panera Bread since June of 2006. At the time I was hired, I was 16 years old, and turned 17 a month later, making me a minor for the entire time I was working there (excluding July 2007). Panera Bread has violated many California labor laws, such as not paying me overtime on the 7th day working, having me work more than four hours a day, working more than 40 hours during school, not providing lunch breaks or even those 10-minute breaks that are required for every four hours of work. I also haven't had a work permit since October of 2006 and I'm required to work past 10:00 p.m. on school nights. With all the research I've done, everything I've listed is illegal.

"Do I have a case? Better yet, is there any way to get them in trouble?"

Well, Panera did get in trouble—potentially to the tune of $5 million. According to California labor law attorneys, Susie does have a case, but it could be subject to the statute of limitations. If she hasn't done so already, Susie needs to obtain her time sheets and all records of employment. Then she should call an attorney in her area. Wage and hour attorneys typically work on contingency, so she won't have to pay any legal fees until her overtime case is won. There are no fees for a legal consultation and both individual lawsuits and class-action suits are based on contingency.

In the case of Panera, Susie should consider filing a class-action lawsuit, advises employment attorney Shaun Setareh. "There should be more than 25 former and current employees combined to file a class action," says Setareh. "With a class action, you will be protecting your own rights along with everyone else, and if you are the class representative, you qualify for class enhancement, which means that the court will most likely award you extra money when the case is settled."


California Overtime Legal Help

If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to an employment law lawyer who may evaluate your California Overtime claim at no cost or obligation.


Posted by

I have been working with Panera Bread since June. When I interviewed with two people they told me I would be able to work at the cafe up the street from house. Unfortunately they lied to me. I started as an assistant. Hired as a full-time employee. Dropped off at night and picked up in the morning because the verbal agreement I made did not matter. A new BMM came into the picture. So when I go to work at 12 a.m., since I do not have transportation my toddler is awakened. And then is awakened again when I get picked up. My check has been wrong more than it has been right. At one point my hours were cut in half because I refused to work two cafes in one night. Not wanting to wake my child up twice. I needed this job and now that I have been made baker, there is no time for breaks because my timeline keeps being threatened. Even though I am done within my 8 hours. The company has owed me 5 hours of pay since January and I have emails and text messages from my BMM saying he submitted it to payroll and I will receive it next check. They came out with new time sheets but I requested these timesheets several times and between three managers no one gave me one. I finally got my hands on one at our last meeting. I get light headed and dizzy from the lack of eating and breaks. Then they cut all of ours by a half hour and within the same email was an attachment with a new cleaning list. My job gets threatened if I don't finish on time, yet the company cut our time and added more work. I am the bread winner in our family and my toddler counts on me. I work graveyard in order to avoid paying for child care. I am a student with a very close to perfect GPA. This company is taking advantage of people. If they see you have time to take a break they cut your hours and still make you believe that you are not working hard enough. As soon as I find something else, I am gone. This company preys on the weak and makes you feel small and unappreciated. My father owned fast food food restaurants almost my whole life and if he were still here with us, he would shame Panera management and how they get away with treating people trying to get by. All I ever hear from my BMM is this is Panera Standards not how I believe it should work. It is his job to stick up for his employees and if he cant then he shouldn't be in the position he is. There is nothing wrong with following the law and treating people like human beings. I was so grateful to have this job I overlooked a lot and keep doing so in order to pay for my rundown apartment and feed my child so I don't have to be on welfare.

Posted by

I worked for Panera Bread From 3/2006 until 05/2011,and not once was I ever contacted about the class-action suit I worked for the company when it had all diversity Then we changed to a different district, and I was the only African American Women Assistance Manager ,and there was only one African-American Man Assistance Manage What's wrong with that picture please could someone get back to me. I am sure there are a lot of African American that worked for the Covelli,

Posted by

Im currently an employee with Panera Bread, I am facing what you guys are facing. My problems are with the Baking side of Panera and not able to take breaks or not getting paid overtime, and etc. I have stated my problems with my BMM and JVP but yet nothing as changed now my name is beings slandered through out Panera since Ive raised awareness to these problems. what you think I should do?

Posted by

hi iam current employee for the panera bread since 2006 and till now, and i heard about this case but i did not recive any info or letter please can you contactme or please i want to now more about yhis case.

Posted by

as of now I have not received a check either so I dont think they have sent any out yet.

Posted by

Hello I don't know if this is the right attorney but I got a call from a lawyer about the meal brake violation from Panera Bread in 2010 and a letter in 2011 stating that I would receive a settlement. I have yet received anything from anyone. I worked there from 2008-2010 and was told I would receive a check in the mail. I have since moved and was wondering if it was sent out or if it was lost in the mail or if the checks were not issued yet. Could you please get back to me a.s.a.p. Thank you for your time..


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