My name is Bill Turley. I am a class action lawyer. I represent workers just like you in wage and hour class action cases. Believe it or not, I am known for being a straight-shooter. I am blunt. I tell like it is. Just the way I would want it if I hired a lawyer. If you are a current employee or former employee of Hertz Local Edition - pull up a chair - because here I go again....
Integrity: doing the right thing for the right reason.
– Bill Turley
Hertz Local Edition California Class Action Lawsuit - Wage Theft
There is a Hertz Local Edition California Class Action filed. One of the causes of action is wage theft. If you have worked for Hertz Local Edition in California, you may be a part of the Hertz Local Edition (HLE) California Class Action. And if you have worked for HLE - you probably already know about what this Hertz Class Action Lawsuit is about.
What is the Hertz Local Edition California Class Action all about?
According to documents filed with the court - here is what Hertz Local Edition California Class Action is all about and/or the allegations in the lawsuit:
Hertz is #1
Hertz is probably the most famous rental company in the United States, or for that matter, in the whole world. It is generally agreed Hertz is the largest car rental company. Hertz is number one.
It’s all in what Hertz says your job title is
Instead of calling workers what they really are - Hertz calls their customer service representatives “manager trainees.”
In order to rent cars to customers, Hertz has customer service representatives that work at the counter renting cars to the customers.
Most all of us have dealt with car rental customer service representatives. They work the counter and fill out the forms in order for customers to qualify and pay for the car rental. Once the customer fills out the requisite forms - the customer service representative matches the customer to their respective car.
For many of us that travel or get loaners while our car is being repaired - this is a familiar process. For all of the car rental companies - including Hertz - these customer service representatives that work at the counter leasing cars are non-exempt employees.
They are front line employees that are the “production” workers for Hertz and other car rental companies. They are paid by the hour.
Only Hertz does not call these employers "customer service representatives." Instead, Hertz designates them as "manager trainees."
The real reason why Hertz Limited Edition calls you a “manager trainee”: trying to get you to work for free.
Why Hertz calls you a "manager trainee" as opposed to what you really are: a "customer service representative" - - is at the heart of this wage and hour class action case. From Redding to San Diego (i.e. from one end of California to the other); Hertz uniformly titles their customer service representatives “manager trainees.”
Why do you suppose that Hertz calls production customer service representatives “manager trainees?”
After all, how many “chiefs” can an organization like Hertz have?
How many “manager trainees”/customer service representatives actually progress to becoming managers?
The evidence in this case suggests that in many respects Hertz has a uniform carrot and a stick system in place from Redding to San Diego for these front-line production workers.
Hertz tries to get you to believe that you will become a manager one day, so you won’t complain about the understaffing and working off the clock
While Hertz calls customer service representatives “manager trainees” you are not really training to become a manager at all. Instead, this process is a uniform ploy to, in effect, steal wages. Or stated differently, Hertz has a uniform practice of promising their production workers that they can become managers in order to keep down labor costs.
It all comes down to money - Hertz is trying to squeeze profits out of you (and steal your wages).
What you are going to see is that the car rental business is fiercely competitive. Business travelers and customers use the Internet to shop the best prices and get the best deals.
Because these Internet sites make pricing so competitive - car rental companies including Hertz try to make their margins and profits by slicing their labor budgets as much as possible. Hertz is a publicly traded company. Hertz upper management is under extreme pressure to make a profit. It is all about quarterly earnings.
All of these competitive factors motivate Hertz to call their customer service representatives “manager trainees.” That is, to cut corners as much as possible on labor budgets in order to improve their bottom lines.
While it may not seem like much to not have to pay for a few extra employees to provide breaks to the manager trainees to take meal breaks and rest breaks at any one location - Hertz has hundreds of locations in California alone.
Hertz has a systematic method of understaffing their rental stores with customer service representatives. The understaffing results in “manager trainees” being encouraged to work while there are off the clock or not take meal periods and/or rest periods at all.
It is all about false hope “You can be a manager one day!”
By designating you with the “manager trainee” job title, Hertz discourages you from complaining about Hertz’s wage and hour violations. This false job title gives you the hope that you will one day become a manager. You don’t want to risk your future as a potential manager by complaining about Hertz’s wage and hour policies and practices.
An incentive to forego meal periods and rest periods
Let me regress. The California Supreme Court case that provides you the right to meal periods and rest breaks in a 2013 case called Brinker vs. Superior Court. I use the Brinker case all the time to win class action cases. I know the Brinker case very well. I represented the workers in the Brinker case.
The law made in the Brinker case says that the company can’t give you an incentive to forego meal periods and rest breaks. Which ties directly into Hertz’s scheme to get free labor by calling you a manager trainee instead of what you really are - a customer service representative.
In effect, the manager trainee system is a way for Hertz to provide you with an incentive to forego meal periods and rest periods. By dangling the promise of you becoming a manager - Hertz provides you an incentive to forego meal periods and rest periods. After all, this is what managers are expected to do.
It all comes down to saving money on payroll - getting free labor
This carrot and stick system allows Hertz to understaff their locations from Redding to San Diego and literally save millions of dollars each year in payroll costs. Instead, of providing adequate breaks for the “manager trainees” Hertz realizes a huge savings in payroll by having you work through meal periods and rest periods.
All of this is under the guise that since you are a “manager trainee” you are, in effect, expected to “take one for the team.”
These uniform practices result in you not getting paid for all time you work and not receiving compliant meal and rest periods, not receiving proper overtime pay, pay check stub violations and waiting time penalties.
Status of the case
The case is at the pre-class certification stage. The court has still not ruled on the merits of the case. You won’t be surprised to hear that Hertz denies each and every allegation as asserted.
In fact, Hertz hired some really good lawyers to defend the case. Hertz was smart to hire lawyers that are nice and pleasant.
What can I do in order to help?
We would like to hear your take. We are trying to talk to as many Hertz Local Edition workers as possible - both current employees and ex-employees.
The more folks we talk to the better chance we have of winning this case.
Death and taxes
However, there are no guarantees in life or law. Other than death and taxes. No one can guarantee any legal case will be won. There are any number of reasons why the case won’t be certified and/or won’t be successful. We have also filed a PAGA case.
I look forward to hearing from you.