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Warehouse Distribution Fulfillment Workers Wage Lawsuits - How can I get my unpaid wages?

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Updated February 13, 2019 

Class Action and PAGA Unpaid Wage lawsuits for Warehouse workers, Distribution Center Workers and Fulfillment Center Workers, Logistics Workers

If you work in a warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center in California, you may be entitled to significant monies in unpaid wages. Based on what we see, most of these companies are not following California wage laws. You are probably owed significant money for unpaid wages and/or wage penalties. 

Whether you work directly for the California warehouse company, California distribution center company, California fulfillment company, third-party company, California staffing agency company and/or a California logistics company - - what you are going to see is that you are probably owed money for unpaid wages. 

Under California law, you can generally bring a wage claim if you worked for a company within the last 4 years. Not to suggest that you should wait to bring a wage claim, but you can bring a claim for unpaid wages against a current or former company that you worked for. 

Here are some of the common questions that we receive from California workers that work in a  warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center:

Am I owed unpaid wages if I work in a warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center in California? 

Should I to be paid for the time I’m waiting in a workplace security line in California?

Should I be paid for the time that I am walking to the time clock / timekeeping system in California? 

Am I getting my 10 minute rest break if I am walking to the break room for part of that time?


Should I be getting paid for the time I am walking to my work station in California? 

Am I owed an hour’s pay for not getting meal breaks if I work in a  warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center in California? 

Am I owed an hour’s pay for not getting rest breaks if I work in a  warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center in California? 

Am I owed money for paycheck or pay stub violations if I work in a  warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center in California? 

Am I owed money for waiting time penalties if I work in a  warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center in California?

Can I sue the distribution center, warehouse and/or fulfillment center if I am paid by a staffing agency? 

 

Bill Turley is regularly asked to testify before the California legislature as an expert on California wage law. 

How long do I have to bring a wage claim under California law? - Bill Turley testyfing before the California Assembly

 

Am I owed unpaid wages if I am a warehouse worker, distribution center work and/or fulfillment center worker in California? 


Warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center workers in California are generally not getting paid all the wages that they are owed under California law. Generally, these logistics workers are covered by California Wage Order No. 9

Wage Order No. 9 requires warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center workers in California to be paid for all the time that they work. Wage Order No. 9 requires that employers keep accurate records of all time worked. If the company doesn't keep accurate timekeeping records, then it falls back on the company.

A lot of the problems that cause these California warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center companies to violate California wage laws is the size of the facilities. Both based upon the number of employees and physical size of the facilities. Whether it be the distance from the timekeeping system to the entranceway, the distance from work sites to break rooms and/or security lines. All of these pose potential problems for the company. 

Based upon what we see, most all of these companies have wage violations, California Labor Code violations and/or California Wage Order violations. 

Let's go through some of these. 


Should I to be paid for the time I’m waiting in a workplace security line in California?

Security lines and unpaid wages in California 

Under California law, you are entitled to get paid for all time you work. Which means anytime you are subject to the control of the company or under their duty.  When you are waiting in a security line going into work or leaving work, you are subject to the control of the company. The company has to pay you for this time. 

It doesn't matter if you have to wait in line one minute or 5 minutes or even more. Under California law, you must be paid for all this time. 

If you have to be waiting in security lines at a California warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center companies; then you have to be paid for that time.  That also means that you probably didn't get your full meal break, rest break, that there are paycheck stub violations and you are entitled to waiting time penalties. 

 

Am I supposed to be paid for the time that I'm walking to and from the time clock/ timekeeping system in California? 

Under California law, you must be paid for all time that you work. Some companies make it so you have to clock in near your work area. When this is the case, then the company owes you for the time that you had to walk to your work area.

Remember, most  warehouses, distribution centers and/or fulfillment centers are fairly large. Thus, if you have to walk from the front entrance and it take more than a minute to get to where you clock in or record your time, then you have to be paid for this time.  

Am I getting my 10 minute rest break if I'm walking back forth from the break room for part of that time? 

First of all, Wage Order 9 states that you must be provided a "suitable resting facility." Meaning, a break room. 

Meaning, a 10 minute rest break when you work 3.5 hours, a second rest break when you work 6 hours, a third rest break when you work 10 hours, a fourth rest break when you work 12 hours and a fifth rest break when you work 14 hours.
 
The rest break must be a net 10 minutes resting. If you are walking to or from the rest break, you did not get a net 10 minutes rest.
 
California rest break law is based upon California Wage Orders. Wage Order 9, states that the rest break must be provided at a suitable resting facility. Which is usually a break room.
 
Your employer must relieve you of all duties and control during your rest break. 
 

Should I be getting paid for the time I'm walking to my work station? 

Yes. You have to be paid for all time that you are under the direction or control of your employer. When you're walking to you work station, you're under the control of your employer so you must be paid for that time. 

 

Am I owed an hour's pay if I don't get my meal breaks? 

Under Labor Code Section 226.7, if your employer doesn't provide you with a legally compliant meal break, then you are owed an hour's pay.  This is going back four years.
 
For example, if you are paid $15 an hour and you work 260 days a year, and we are only talking about just one meal break violation per day, you are looking at $3,900. And if we go back four years, you are looking at $15,600.
 


Am I owed an hour's pay if I don't get my rest breaks? 


Under Labor Code Section 226.7, if your employer doesn't provide you with a legally compliant rest break, then you are owed an hour's pay.  This is going back four years.
 

Am I owed money for paycheck stub or pay stub violations if I work in a warehouse, distribution center or fulfillment center in California?
 
Under California, your employer must put certain information on your paycheck stub. All of the hours your work and all meal and rest break premiums that your are owed (the hour's pay for not getting a meal or rest break), must be put on your paycheck stub. If this information is not on you pay stub, under California Labor Code Section 226 - you are owed $50 for the initial violation and $100 for all subsequent violations, up to $4,000. 

Am I owed money for paycheck or pay stub violations if I work in a  warehouse, distribution center and/or fulfillment center in California? 


Am I owed money for waiting time penalties if I work in a warehouse, distribution center or fulfillment center in California?
 


Under the law, you may be entitled to 30 days wages if you aren't paid your wages in a timely manner.  These are called waiting time penalties. 

 

Can I sue the company that runs the distribution center, warehouse and/or fulfillment center if I am paid by a staffing agency? 

Yes.

Large corporations rely on the employees at their fulfillment centers to load cargo from the warehouse to the trucks that deliver it. While these companies may have several distribution centers dedicated solely to their products, they often give third-party managers control of daily operations—and these third parties in charge of logistics may steal wages from workers. In these cases, workers can file a class action lawsuit to recover back wages, meal and rest break pay, and lost overtime for all employees who were cheated out of their rightful pay.

Thus, no matter who you are paid by and/or what entity you work for, you can generally sue the company that is in charge of your wages, hours and/or working conditions. 

California's leading wage lawyer

We're not saying this to brag. We're telling you this so you will know that Bill knows what he's talking about.  Bill represented the workers in the leading California Supreme Court case on California unpaid wages law - Brinker vs. Superior Court. Bill wrote the winning briefs in the recent California Supreme Court cases - Augustus vs. Superior Court (the leading case on rest breaks) and Williams vs. Superior Court (the case that gives you the right to getting the names of your co-employees in a PAGA case). 

Bill Turley is regularly asked to testify before the California State Senate and the California State Assembly on unpaid wages law. Bill helped write the recent changes to California's unpaid wages PAGA laws. 

Time limits for bringing unpaid wage claims in California - Statutue of limitations for wage claims - Bill Turley testfying

Need help right now?

Call us at 619-234-2833 or fill out the contact form on this webpage. 

Recent Class Action Lawsuits Against Warehousing and Logistics Employers

California logistics and distribution center employees recently became even more likely to succeed in class action lawsuits against their employers. Recently, a California  judge ruled that retail warehouse owners can be added as co-defendants in claims against distribution operators, staffing agencies, and other contractors, allowing employees to hold the entire supply chain liable for violations of labor laws.

Fulfillment center employees have recently taken legal action against:

  • Schneider Logistics. This contractor agreed to pay $4.7 million to workers in a California distribution center in March 2012 to settle allegations that it failed to pay overtime and illegally deducted wages from over 500 warehouse workers.
  • Walmart. In October 2011, both Walmart and its warehouse operator Schneider Logistics agreed to $21 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by distribution center employees in Mira Loma. The settlement provided compensation for unpaid wages, interest, and penalties to 1,800 low-skilled workers employed to perform loading and unloading at the fulfillment center. Although Schneider Logistics paid the entirety of the settlement, the case was a major victory against Walmart, who was named as a co-defendant along with its contractors.
  • Amazon. In 2017, employees filed a class action lawsuit against Golden State FC LLC, the operator of several Amazon fulfillment centers in California. Court documents indicate that defendants violated California labor law by forcing employees to work longer than their scheduled 10-hour shifts without additional pay or rest breaks. The violation occurred as a result of Amazon’s policy of clocking in and clocking out at a specific location at the sprawling warehouse, forcing workers to forgo pay for over 15 minutes of work time per day.

If you and your fellow employees are being cheated out of you wages, you may be eligible to form a class action to recover lost pay and penalties. To find out whether your employer may be guilty of wage theft, please feel free to learn more about your rights in our free book, California Truck & Delivery Driver Wage Theft: The Ultimate Straight Talk Guide to Getting Your Hard Earned Wages Back.

William Turley
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