The discount supermarket chain Aldi has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a wage and hour claim brought by more than 2,000 California store workers. In the class action claim, the workers alleged that the German retailer denied them minimum wage and overtime pay rates required by state law. The employees also claimed that Aldi did not pay them promptly when their employment was terminated, and that Aldi denied the workers the rest and meal breaks they were entitled to under California law.
Wage and hour laws in California provide workers with more protection than federal employment laws, and employers with a nationwide presence often fail to comply with California law. The restaurant chain Red Robin, which is based in California, agreed in June to pay $8.5 million to nearly 17,000 workers to settle a class action claim similar to the one brought by the Aldi employees. One of the complaints both the Aldi and Red Robin workers had was being denied a 10-minute break after working for four hours.
Aldi has settled wage and hour claims in the past. In 2019, the retailer agreed to pay $9.8 million to settle a claim brought by store managers in New York. The managers alleged in their complaint that Aldi paid them a flat rate that did not include overtime compensation for doing the same work as hourly workers who did receive overtime pay.
An experienced employment law attorney can best explain the protections workers enjoy in California and the sanctions employers may face when wage and hour laws are violated. An attorney with experience in the matters can scrutinize paystubs and time cards to determine if workers have a cause to take legal action. When they do, the attorney can advocate on the employees’ behalf during settlement negotiations and in court.
For more on class action employment lawsuits in California, please see our class action overview.