California Workers Settle Preliminary Activities and Meal Period Claims

On January 8, 2014, a federal judge in California granted preliminary approval to an agreement between approximately 700 steel workers and a sheet metal manufacturer for $3.5 million to settle state wage and hour claims. Cordy v. USS-Posco Indus. (N.D. Cal. 2014). 

The suit alleged that Posco failed to pay wages to nonexempt workers at the Pittsburg, California plant for time spent in pre-shift activities including swiping-in using an electronic card system, donning and doffing protective equipment, and receiving information about incidents or problems from workers on previous shifts. Workers also alleged that Posco did not give them bona fide off-duty meal and rest periods, and did not provide them with timely and accurate itemized wage statements.

In addition to the monies approved in the settlement, the judge awarded injunctive relief requiring Posco to maintain records of actual hours worked by nonexempt workers and to provide wage statements containing all information required under California law.

This case highlights the need for all employers, but especially California employers, to review their pay practices for preliminary activities, accuracy of wage statements, and meal and rest periods. Members can review our FYI on California’s meal and rest period requirements by clicking here.