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What Assemblyman Fox Has in Common with Chipotle Restaurant: California Overtime Lawsuit

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Los Angeles, CAQuestion: What does Assemblyman Steve Fox have in common with Chipotle Mexican Grill? Answer: California overtime lawsuit alleging violation of the California labor law by not providing proper breaks and failing to pay minimum wage.

When employees are require to perform between 15 and 25 hours per week of free labor, or when workers are forced to work shifts longer than eight hours and clocking more than 40 hours in a week, they are likely making less than the minimum wage.

In the lawsuit filed against Assemblyman Steve Fox, former employee Kristina Zahn claims that she worked up to 20 hours a week without getting paid while working as a paralegal on behalf of Fox’s campaigns - she typically worked 50 hours per week. The lawsuit claims that Fox avoided paying overtime by paying Zahn a salary and classifying her as exempt from overtime. She claims that some weeks totaled 60 hours, bringing her hourly rate to less than minimum wage. (Zahn was paid a salary of $461.54 per week.)

She further claims that the legislator failed to pay his employees minimum wage and often prevented his employees from taking lunch breaks as required by law. Plaintiff Zahn said that “a break that involved anything other than using the restroom was a luxury.”

The lawsuit claims that, rather than hire campaign workers or solicit volunteers, other employees like Zahn working in Fox’s taxpayer-funded state office were forced to also work for his private law practice. The Democrat lawmaker disputes the allegations. According to Newstex, Fox looks forward to clearing his name in court and “They’re meritless claims by a disgruntled ex-employee…Nothing will ever be offered for settlement because I expect to litigate it out and win,” he said.

A proposed class-action lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles, claims that the Mexican restaurant chain denied former and current “apprentices” or assistant managers, overtime pay.

Plaintiff Tedi Roberts claims that Chipotle refused to pay her and other employees overtime when they worked more than eight-hour shifts and clocked more than 40 hours in one week, which is a violation of the California labor laws. Roberts further claims that she wasn’t allowed proper lunch and rest breaks, even though her manager deducted breaks required by California law from employees’ pay.

This complaint, Tedi Roberts et. al v. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., case number DC537487, isn’t the first overtime lawsuit filed against the restaurant chain. According to court documents, a collective action suit currently in New York federal court claims that Chipotle misclassified workers as exempt from overtime.


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