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GroupMe unpaid wages class action lawsuits

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Does your employer use GroupMe or a similar app to communicate?  If so, you may be entitled to money for unpaid wages & penalties.

GroupMe unpaid wages class action lawsuits- what you should know

 
In this article I discuss Groupme and wage class action lawsuits. I explain how under California law, you may be entitled to a lot of money in unpaid wages and penalties. Although this article is about California law, it is also a violation of federal wage laws. Thus, even if you work outside of California and your employer has workers use GroupMe, you may still be entitled to significant money. 
 

GroupMe mobile group messaging app

 
GroupMe is a mobile group messaging app. Groupme works by downloading the app or accessing the service online, and then forming an account by providing your name, cell phone number and a password, or you can connect through your Facebook or Twitter account. When someone sends a message, everyone in the group can see and respond to it.

"Keeping in touch" 

As the GroupMe website says:
 
Keeping you in touch is what GroupMe is all about. You can create groups from the contacts already in your phone and send a text to them all at once. When one of them responds, everyone gets the message. It's like a free private chat room that works on every phone.
 

Why the company wants you to GroupMe (it's all about money ... the company's money, not your money)

 
First, GroupMe saves money. Texting is expensive and its fees can add up quickly, especially when you're trying to relay information to multiple people (which is a pain to do, one by one). But data messages are relatively much cheaper than texts, and you have that option.

Second, as a promo said, “GroupMe's Questions feature lets you quickly direct a message to a specific group or individual. This gives you, as the boss, the capability to reach out to specific individuals in the group or to ask questions to make sure the group is on target.”


GroupMe and unpaid wages

Under California law, you must be paid for all of the time that you work. When the company encourages workers to use a work related GroupMe app, you must be paid for the time that you are using the app. Even if it’s only a few minutes a day. The California Supreme Court recently held a company responsible for not paying workers 2-3 minutes a day in wages.
 
Don't think that this isn't enough money for you to worry about. With the unpaid wages and California's strict unpaid wages penalties, you will see how it can quickly add up to thousands of dollars and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars for each employee. 
 
I will explain later in this article how California’s strict penalties for not paying workers for all time that they work, will usually mean you’re owed thousands and thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and penalties.
 
GroupMe Wage Class Action Cases - Bill Turley explains California wage laws
 
Getting your unpaid wages check in a California Unpaid Wages Class Action case!

In this article, I answer the following questions and/or issues: 

Can I bring a class action lawsuit or a PAGA lawsuit if my company makes me use GroupMe?
 
In order to stay on top of what is happening with the company, workers check their GroupMe messages when they’re not “on-duty”.
 
What are the unpaid wage issues that arise with GroupMe and similar mobile messaging apps?
 
Does the company have to pay me when I use my own cell phone for work? Not being reimbursed for using your own phone to access the app.
 
Not being paid for all time that you access the GroupMe app.
 
Accessing the GroupMe app during meal breaks and rest breaks.
 
An hour’s pay for every meal break.
 
An hour’s pay for not receiving a legal rest break.
 
"But, what if I didn’t check the GroupMe, send or receive messages during my breaks?"
 
Paycheck stub violations.
 
PAGA penalties.
 
Waiting time penalties.
 
What is the bottom line with GroupMe messages and work?

It starts with you reaching out.

Why is Bill Turley asked to testify concerning wage law legislation at the California State Senate and the California Assembly?

California Groupme Class Action lawyer- Bill Turley

Bill is known as a No B.S. straight-shooter lawyer

 
Believe it or not, Bill is known for being a no B.S. straight-up lawyer. Besides being known as one of the leading experts on this area of the law in California, one of the reasons why Bill is asked to testify at legislature hearings is because he is known for being straight-forward and blunt. He is known for being no B.S., with no lawyer-talk, no double-talk.
 
He's down to earth and easy to talk to. 
 

Can I bring a class action lawsuit or a PAGA lawsuit if my company makes me use GroupMe? 

 
Yes. You can bring a California wages class action lawsuit (or a federal wages class action lawsuit if you work outside of California) if your company expects you and/or other workers to use GroupMe.  
 
Usually class action lawsuits are the best way for workers to recover unpaid wages and penalties because you can spread the cost of the lawsuit among all the workers that are affected by the illegal work practices. 

In order to stay on top of what is happening with the company, workers check their GroupMe messages when they’re not “on-duty”

We have had a number of clients and/or cases where the workers check the company’s GroupMe messages while they are off-duty. Meaning, on days off, before their shifts start, after work, during meal breaks, during rest breaks and the like.
 
Workers are expected to check the GroupMe messages in order to keep up with what is happening with the company or their department, etc.
 
You’ll see under California law, workers are entitled to get paid for this time and/or it is a violation of California’s strict wage laws.
 

What are the unpaid wage issues that arise with GroupMe and similar mobile messaging apps?

1.  Does the company have to pay me when I use my own cell phone for work? Not being reimbursed for using your own phone to access the app.

Under California law, you must be reimbursed for all business expenses. If you use your own cell phone and/or computer for work purposes, then you must be reimbursed by the company. Most California courts have held that workers are entitled to $35 or more per month when workers use their cell phone for work. This is true even if you have unlimited texts or data. 
 

2.  Not being paid for all time that you access the GroupMe app

In the wage class action cases that we have had where the company used the GroupMe app, the employees would get GroupMe messages on days that they weren’t working. 
 
Thus, in order to keep up with what was going on with the company, employees would check out the GroupMe messages on days that they weren’t “working”.
 
In the recent Troester California Supreme Court case, the California Supreme Court held that workers must be paid for all time that they work. Troester v. Starbucks Corp. (2018) 5 Cal.5th 829, 847.
 
Even if it’s only 2 minutes a day. If you’re spending 2 minutes of any day (for example: Your day off or before or after your shift starts) on GroupMe - - then you must be paid for this time.
 

3. Accessing the GroupMe app during meal breaks and rest breaks

Under the landmark Brinker California Supreme Court case, an employer satisfies its obligation to provide meal breaks if it:
 
1.  Relieves its employees of all duty,
2.  Relinquishes control over their activities and
3.  Permits them a reasonable opportunity to take an uninterrupted 30 minute break, and
4.  Does not impede or discourage them from doing so.  Or provide an incentive to forego.
Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004, 1040 (Cal. 2012).

In at least four different places in the Augustus decision, the Supreme Court stated that an employer's obligation to provide rest breaks is the same as it is to provide meal breaks. Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., 2 Cal. 5th 257, 265, (2016).
 
I know these cases very well, because I represented the workers in the Brinker case and I wrote the winning Supreme Court briefs in the Augustus case.
 

3. An hour’s pay for every meal break

 
If you're receiving Groupme messages during meal breaks then you’re owed an hour’s pay for not getting a legal meal break.
 
So if you leave GroupMe on during meal breaks, you’re entitled to an hour’s pay for every meal period. At a conservative one meal break per shift, this can quickly add up to thousands of dollars.
 

4. An hour’s pay for not receiving a legal rest break

If you're receiving Groupme messages during rest breaks then you’re owed an hour’s pay for not getting a legal rest break.
 
Similarly, having GroupMe on during rest breaks and only counting one rest break per shift can really add up fast.
 
 

"But, what if I didn’t check the GroupMe, send or receive messages during my breaks?"

Under California law, you don’t have to actually have sent, received and/or checked you GroupMe during a meal or rest break in order to have not received a legal break.  If you have your phone on in order for you to check the GroupMe messages, that is enough.
 
For example, in the Augustus case, the California Supreme Court held that the workers didn't receive a legal rest break even if they had to leave their radio and/or cell phone on during rest breaks. It was enough that the company expected them to respond if they got a call. Similarly, if the company expects you to check out GroupMe messages, that's enough to violate California meal and rest break law. it's the fact that you have a duty that triggers the violation. Meal and rest breaks must be duty free. 
          
 

5. Paycheck stub violations

When the company doesn’t pay you for all of the time that you work - like when you’re not getting paid to check GroupMe messages - then it is is a pay stub violation under California law not to put these work time and wages owed on your paycheck. You’re owed up to $4,000 for this one violation of California law alone.
 

6. PAGA penalties

 
California has powerful Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) laws.
 
In a nutshell, you can collect a number of PAGA penalties for the company’s failure to pay you for checking GroupMe messages. We have had cases where there have been over 10 California Labor Code violations and California Wage Order violations due to the company not paying employees for all time that they work (read: checking GroupMe messages). 
 
PAGA penalties can add up to thousands and thousands of dollars owed to each employee.

7. Waiting time penalties

Under California law, you’re entitled to 30 days wages if the company doesn’t timely pay you all of your wages at time of termination.  These waiting time penalties routinely add up to thousands and thousands of dollars, even if you make minimum wage. And much more, the more you earn each day.


What is the bottom line with GroupMe messages and work?

With the GroupMe cases that we have, the company uses GroupMe in order to have instant communication with the workers. The problem with instant communication is that workers are expected to check the GroupMe messages in order to stay apprised with what is going on with the company.
 
There is nothing wrong with this. However, under California law, if the company expects workers to spend their time reviewing and/or making work related communications, then the workers must be paid for this time.
 
This isn’t even a close call under California law. This is why these GroupMe cases that we have investigated are strong unpaid wages cases.
 

It starts with you reaching out

These GroupMe cases started because an employee suspected that not getting meal breaks and rest breaks wasn't lawful. So they “chatted” (on this webpage) with our office in order to see what could be done. Whether you call us, chat with us, message us, text us or email us - it's not a difficult process. 
Everything is always confidential unless and until you decide to go forward with an unpaid wages case.

Like all wage class action lawsuits and PAGA actions, you never have to pay us any legal fees directly. We only get paid if we win. And when we do get paid, we get paid directly from the company (after the Judge approves of the settlement and our fees/ costs).  You never have to pay any of the case costs - we advance the costs and we only get reimbursed those costs if we win the case.

In other words, you never have to pay any money out of your pocket in order to bring a case to recover your unpaid wages or PAGA penalties.
 

 

Questions or if you need help right now?


Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.
 
Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text.
 
Chat with us on the message app on this webpage.
 
Or leave us a message on this webpage.
 
 

 
 
This article isn't legal advice
 
These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. These testimonials, endorsements, photos and/or discussions do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation. Every case is different. There are any number of reasons why class actions are not certified, not won and/or PAGA actions are not successful.
 
Just because we have gotten great results in so many other unpaid wage cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in other cases. Including, your wage case. Every case is different. In other words, your mileage may vary.
William Turley
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“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”
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