On April 12, 2019, a California federal jury awarded $6 million to Walmart workers at a Chino, California warehouse who worked as “Associates” as far back as June 8, 2013. During meal breaks, Walmart required Associates to go through a lengthy “asset protection” process that included an anti-theft metal detector checkpoint if they wished to leave the warehouse at lunch. The process took so long that it would significantly cut into Associates’ 30-minute lunch breaks, and Associates feared that they would have no time to clock back in upon returning from break. As a result, Associates at the warehouse felt “like criminals,” and avoided leaving the premises for their breaks. The California federal jury found that Walmart: (1) failed to provide more than 1,900 employees with proper meal breaks, and (2) discouraged those employees from enjoying those breaks outside of the building.
California State law provides employees with a 30-minute meal break for every 5 hours worked. Additionally, California employees must be allowed to take their meal break off-work premises and spend it however they see fit. If an employer fails to provide an employee with a proper meal break, the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at an employee’s regular rate of compensation. Employees who believe that they are not being provided proper meal breaks, or are subject to other workplace violations, should seek legal counsel to analyze their potential legal claims.
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Faruqi & Faruqi focuses on complex civil litigation, including: securities, antitrust, employment, and consumer class actions. The firm is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Georgia and California. Since its founding in 1995, Faruqi & Faruqi continues to serve as lead or co-lead counsel in high-profile cases that ultimately provide significant recoveries to investors, consumers and employees.
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About Patrick J. Collopy
Patrick J. Collopy is an Associate in Faruqi & Faruqi’s New York office and focuses his practice on employment law and wage and hour class action litigation.