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Proposed Class-Action California Overtime Lawsuit v. The Gap Will Continue

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Sacramento, CAThe defendant in a proposed overtime pay lawsuit alleging various affronts to California employment statutes tried to quash the proceedings. But while the judge extended a few small olive branches to The Gap Inc. (The Gap, Gap), the ruling overall went in favor of the plaintiffs.

To wit, the judge left more than just a gap for the lead plaintiff to wiggle through. There’s lots of space to work with.

The unpaid overtime lawsuit is Tiffany Ino v. The Gap Inc., Case No. 3:14-cv-00292, in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. According to court records, lead plaintiff Ino in the proposed nationwide class action accuses The Gap of requiring employees to work off the clock and stiffing them from overtime pay, which is governed under California overtime law.

Ino filed her overtime pay lawsuit in January of this year and seeks to represent any and all current or former employees, who worked for The Gap nationwide for a three-year period immediately preceding the filing of Ino’s lawsuit in January 2014.

The judge, in his ruling, sided with The Gap with regard to Ino’s claim that employees should be compensated for locating and opening company lockers, putting away their belongings at the end of the day, and time spent reviewing schedules.

However, the Court allowed for the remainder of Ino’s allegations to stand - including claims by Ino that Gap employees were required to remain on call without overtime pay or compensation, as well as for time spent undergoing bag checks for security, and assisting customers with various activities while employees were off the clock.

“Ino alleges specific examples of The Gap’s practices denying overtime compensation and minimum wage, including requiring employees to submit to bag checks and assist customers off the clock,” said US District Judge Vince Chhabria, in his ruling. “These allegations do not merely parrot the statutory language and nakedly assert that the defendant has violated the law. They identify specific ways in which The Gap allegedly deprives workers of the minimum wage and overtime pay, and they specify that Ino herself has suffered these deprivations.

“This is enough to state a claim and to put The Gap on notice of the specific unlawful conduct of which it is accused,” the ruling said.

The Gap had also pursued a stay of the litigation until after the US Supreme Court delivered a ruling in a case that is expected to determine whether or not time spent by employees in security screenings is compensable. Judge Chhabria denied the request for a stay based on the fact that Ino is pursuing her claims on her own behalf and those of the representative class - claims that will not be resolved or satisfied by the pending Supreme Court decision.

Thus, the overtime laws case involving a major US retailer will continue in California.

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