This class action takes up the plight of store employees, particularly those who work solo shifts, who are not given their proper meal and rest breaks by their employers. The complaint also alleges that Circle K Stores, Inc. in California practice “time shaving,” whereby employee timecards are changed in order to save Circle K money. The complaint brings suit under California Labor Law and Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders.
The primary class for this action is all current and former non-exempt employees during the past four years of Circle K Stores in California.
For the meal and rest break claims, the class is all current and former non-exempt employees during the past four years of Circle K in California who work or worked solo shifts.
The complaint provides little specific information Healther Popejoy, the plaintiff, except to say that she worked at a location in Gustine, California. However, the allegations are made on behalf of the entire class of employees.
When employees work a “solo shift,” where they are the only person staffing a store location during their shift, it isn’t possible for them to have a completely uninterrupted meal or rest break. They are required to attend to customers who come into the store at any time during their shifts.
While labor laws do allow this, with “mutual consent,” there is a trade-off: An employee who isn’t given a proper rest or meal break as required by law must be given an extra hour’s pay to compensate. Although Circle K regularly schedules employees for solo shifts, where breaks aren’t really possible, it does not give them the compensating extra hour of pay.
Also, the complaint alleges that the managers or others at the company alter timesheets. Circle K’s “managers were typically expected to manage overtime among the non-exempt employees to minimize overtime expenses. In order to meet their overtime goals, managers periodically ‘edited’ the time-records of employees…”
As usual, these violations lead to further “downstream” violations of the law. Because not all wages owed were paid to employees, the company has violated the provision that says that employers are required to pay all unpaid wages in a timely manner at separation with the employees.
California also has a provision related to this called “waiting penalties.” This means that if all wages are not paid promptly at the end of employment, employees are entitled to a continuation of pay, as if they were still employed, until the wages are paid, up to a maximum of thirty days.