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Petco Groomer Incorrectly Calculated Wages Class Action

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Groomers are people who provide personal-care services to pets, such as bathing, haircuts, nail trimming, cleaning of teeth and ears, and check-ups. This class action alleges that groomers at Petco Animal Supplies Stores, Inc. were required to perform both grooming and other tasks and that final calculations of time worked and pay did not take into consideration required rest periods, meal breaks, actual worked hours, and overtime requirements.

The class for this action includes all employees of Petco who provided grooming services between June 1, 2014 and the present.

The complaint claims that groomers at Petco were required to perform duties other than grooming, including cleaning and sanitizing the work area, making appointments, stocking shelves, assisting customers, and acting as cashiers. The compensation for these groomers, the complaint alleges, could be figured differently in different weeks, in that they were paid the larger of either (a) at minimum wage for all hours worked or (b) on a piecework rate or commission basis figured as a set percentage of the store’s charges for each grooming service. The complaint claims that state law does not permit this ultimately simplified system of calculating groomers’ wages.

First, Washington state law requires employers to give employees a paid, ten-minute rest period for each four hours worked. When employees are paid on a piecework basis, this ten minutes must be added separately, in addition to the piecework. According to the complaint, Petco did not do this.

Second, state law also requires that when piecework employees also do non-piecework tasks, payment for those tasks must be calculated separately. The complaint claims that Petco’s system of lumping all work together does not meet this requirement.

Third, Washington state law also requires that employees get a 30-minute, off-duty meal period. If an employee must keep working during the meal period, the meal period becomes time worked. If piecework employees must work during a meal period, the worked meal periods must be added as additional time worked, separate from the piecework. The complaint alleges that Petco employees often had to work through meal breaks because of scheduled grooming services, unrealistic expectations about performance, and other practices, but that Petco did not count these hours as time worked.

On-duty meal periods add to total number of hours the employee has worked for the week. If the employee works more than forty hours in a given week, state law requires that the company pay for the extra hours at a time-and-a-half rate. Thus, if employees are scheduled for forty-hour work weeks and then must work through meal breaks, the missed meal breaks will cause overtime and must be properly compensated. The complaint alleges that Petco failed to do this.

In addition, the complaint alleges that, because of these things, Petco’s itemized wage statements were inaccurate and employee wages miscalculated, and the company has failed to pay employees all wages that they are due. 

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