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Starbucks Overtime, Pay Rate Violations of California Labor Laws Class Action

Two Starbucks Drinks with Cafe Counter Background

This complaint brings a number of employee claims against Starbucks Corporation in California. One is that employees were not properly compensated for overtime and meal break premiums; another is that, when the employees received incentive pay, the incentive pay was not included in figuring the overtime and meal break premiums. The complaint claims that the company’s omissions are violations of the California Labor Code and the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order requirements.

The California Class for this action includes all individuals who are or were employed by Starbucks in California and classified as non-exempt employees, from September 26, 2014 to a date to be determined by the court. The complaint also names a California Subclass, for other claims, beginning a year later and ending on a date to be determined by the court. 

The pace at Starbucks can be hectic, and plaintiff Shayna Amster claims that at times employees were required to keeping working without meal breaks or rest periods. The complaint claims that Amster and others were at times required to work for more than five hours without an off-duty meal break, and even work for ten hours without a second off-duty meal break. In such situations, employers are supposed to pay employees meal break premiums for the missed meals. 

Also, the complaint alleges that employees were not provided with proper rest breaks. It claims they were required to work four hours without a required ten-minute rest period, six to eight hours without the first or second rest periods, and even ten hours without the first, second, or third rest periods. While employers are allowed to ask employees to skip breaks, the law requires that they receive an hour’s worth of wages as compensation, and the complaint claims that Starbucks did not do this. 

Employees were also sometimes asked to travel to get supplies for their café, but the complaint says that Starbucks did not reimburse them for the costs of the travel. 

The California Labor Code requires that employees be paid overtime for work in excess of eight hours in a workday or forty hours in a workweek. Employers are supposed to provide accurate, itemized wage statements, which show things such as the proper hourly rates, including for overtime hours. The complaint claims that the Starbucks wage statements did not show all the items required under California law. 

In particular, employees were sometimes granted incentive pay for meeting certain performance goals. The complaint contends that although Amster was granted this incentive pay, the incentive portion was not then used to calculate overtime rates. Overtime and missed-break amounts were calculated only using the base pay rate. 

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