“The truth needs so little rehearsal.”
Do you have questions about Kilbourne vs. Coca Cola Refreshments and BCI Coca Cola Bottling Company of California?
California Coca Cola Driver Class Action Case
We have a California driver class action case against Coca Cola Refreshments and BCI Coca Cola Bottling Company of Los Angeles. If you are a driver for Coca Cola, you may have heard about this class action lawsuit.
What is this California Class Action for Coca Cola drivers case about?
The allegations in the case center around Coca Cola drivers not being paid for all time worked. Coca Cola has route systems that are unrealistic. Coca Cola uses the route system (called Shortrec and/or Leo). According to deposition testimony of Coca Cola employees taken under oath, Coca Cola uses the computerized routing system to measure predictive start and end times for driver route.
According to documents filed in the case, the route systems place pressure on the drivers to complete the routes in certain times.
Handheld Devices, Invoices, Document Registers and GPS and Coca Cola Drivers Not Getting Paid For All Time Worked
The Coca Cola drivers use handheld devices to input data during customer stops. The handhelds generate invoices for customers. The handheld devices document times that the drivers are working. These are called document registers. What was done in the case was to compare the document registers with the Kronos clock in/ clock out records that record meal periods. According to documents filed in the case, the document registers demonstrate that work was performed during over 70% of the meal periods. In addition, Coca Cola has GPS tracking devices on the trucks.
Thus, according to documents filed with the court; the Coca Cola document registers in conjunction with the Kronos time records demonstrate that drivers are not getting paid for all time worked.
All the Coca Cola drivers in California use the handheld devices, generate document registers and use the Kronos timekeeping system to clock in and out for meal breaks.
According to documents filed in the case, Coca Cola knows that Coca Cola drivers are working during meal periods and Coca Cola is not paying them for this time. The document registers/ invoices along with the GPS gives notice to Coca Cola that drivers are working during meal periods. Based upon this evidence it appears that Coca Cola makes a lot of money by drivers working during meal periods. This can add up to thousands and thousands of dollars owed to the Coca Cola drivers.*
The Court Orders Coca Cola to provide the contact information for the Coca Cola drivers to us
Recently, the Court in the case Ordered BCI Coca Cola to provide the contact information of the contact information to the Plaintiff attorneys in this case. A Belaire-West type notice was providing which means that drivers could opt to not have their contact information provided.
The Court’s Order states, in part:
“After reviewing Plaintiff’s motion and supporting evidence, it is clear Plaintiffs’ request for class list information is relevant to their claims.... Evidence has been provided that ... drivers in California
(1) used a handheld device,
(2) drover a truck equipped with GPS tracking,
(3) followed Defendants’ Kronos time-keeping system, and
(4) was given computerized delivery routes to follow.
Adequacy of Plaintiffs’ counsel has also been demonstrated and is not questioned.”
“What can I do to help?”
We are asking California drivers to contact our office in order to help us investigate the case. When you call our office, please ask for Courtney.
* Please note that neither I nor anyone else can guarantee any particular result in this case or another wage and hour class action case. There are any number of ways the case may be lost and/or not certified. But what I can say is that we are working really hard on this case and the more drivers that we talk to the better chances we have of prevailing.
A little about us
Those of you that follow my posts on California wage and hour law realize that I represent more truck drivers and delivery drivers than any law firm in California. And you also probably realize that we tend to check out the companies that we bring class action lawsuits against. In this post we are visiting Coca-Cola.
We all know that this is a big company and a BIG BRAND.
So I thought we would first start with Coca-Cola - by the numbers. They say that they have 16 $1 Billion Dollar Brands. Here are some of their brands:
In fact, if you go to their website - you will see a brands list about a country mile long.
They are reported as 57 on the 2013 Fortune 500 list.
Can we all agree that this is one heck of an impressive company? Big doesn’t begin to describe them.
Coca-Cola Driver Class Action Lawsuit
The company appears to have a ton of lot of resources to devote toward building their brands. Here is one promotion we found on the Internet:
We Distribute Happiness!
Remember, whenever you see one of our shiny red Coca-Cola trucks rolling down the road, inside there’s a driver with a mission to make people smile. Accordingly, we at Coca-Cola Refreshments are passionate about making sure all of the fine Coca-Cola products get to your local store, restaurant, cafeteria or vending machines quickly and efficiently.
Fact is, you will see their shiny red trucks on the road around California all the time. And there is a driver inside. Only, that driver is not getting the meal breaks and rest breaks that they are supposed to be getting under California law according to the allegations in this lawsuit.
Which, of course, brings us to the Coca-Cola Driver Class Action Lawsuit. The lawsuit is filed in California and is based on California law. As many of you know, I am Plaintiff’s counsel in Brinker v. Superior Court - the landmark 2012 California Supreme Court case that affects every driver in California - including the drivers in this lawsuit. The Brinker case made great law for California workers.
The class action lawsuit against The Coca-Cola Company alleges that these drivers are not getting paid for all of the time that the California drivers are working and drivers aren’t being provided their rest breaks according to California law.
In addition, the law suit alleges that the company is deducting one half hour from the drivers wages, even though the drivers are not getting compliant meal periods and rest periods.
The company website says that they want to me a “great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be.” We will see how that turns out for the California drivers. They also say they want to “have the courage to change course when needed.” We will see where that course takes us.
It goes on to say, “We are committed to conducting our business in ways that provide all personnel with a safe and healthy work environment.” Having drivers getting paid for all time worked and getting and rest breaks that conform to California law would appear to be consistent with these goals. After all, the health and safety of the workers and the public is the basis for California’s strict wage and hour laws. That is what this case is all about.
This isn’t that case
Many of you might have heard about $192.5 million dollar settlement of Abdallah v. The Coca-Cola Co., a class action brought on behalf of salaried African-American employees alleging race discrimination consisting of systemic discrimination in promotions, compensation, and performance evaluations. Which is interesting, of course, because their corporate headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia. However, there are no allegations of race discrimination in this Coca-Cola driver class action lawsuit.
That is not what this case is about. We have seen none of that in our investigations. This is a case about all the drivers not getting their rights under California’s strict wage and hour laws.
It happens time and again
What we see time and again is out of State big-time companies (think Brinker, for example) coming into California and not understanding and appreciating California’s wage and hour laws. California law is very different from the Federal wage and hour laws under the FLSA.
The lawsuit in no way suggests that the folks at Coca-Cola are bad people. This isn’t what this case is about. In fact, the drivers are all really nice folks. What we see time and again is management that are supervised and governed by leadership that is outside of California that simply don’t understand and appreciate California’s strict wage and hour laws.
Once we have an opportunity to sit down with the folks at Coca-Cola, we will keep you posted. Until then, enjoy the Coke brands. Their drivers sure want you to. In the meantime - keep on trucking.
Want to help? Want to learn more?
If you are a Coca-Cola driver or former driver in California, we would like to hear your take. Please contact us at 619-234-2833. Ask for Courtney. If you would like to have it be a confidential communication, that is fine also.
Or if you want to learn more, feel free to contact us.
Or, request a free copy of our great book on California Driver Wage Theft.