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Ulta Beauty Unpaid Time, Missed Breaks, Inaccurate Pay Rates Class Action

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Ulta Beauty Store Front

This is not the first recent class action accusing Ulta Beauty, Inc. of violating wage and labor laws. The complaint alleges that the company did not compensate employees for all hours worked and did not permit them to take proper breaks, among other things. It brings claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), California’s Labor Code, and Industrial Wage Commission (IWC) wage orders.

Employees accumulate unpaid work time in a number of ways, the complaint says. Before they can leave a store, they must clock out and wait for a manager to do a security check to make sure they aren’t removing merchandise. They must do this whenever they leave, including for rest or meal breaks. 

Employees accumulate more unpaid time when they open or close the store, because the time clock is located inside the store. They are also told to fudge their hours so as not to incur meal penalties. The complaint says they “are instructed to clock out prior to the end of the fifth hour, continue working, and then later take a meal period.” 

If employees take meal breaks of longer than thirty minutes, the company puts an “occurrence” on their records. Because of the delay caused by the security check and this stringent limit, the complaint says, employees are pressured to take meal breaks shorter than the thirty minutes they are entitled to. 

In addition, the complaint says that Ulta Beauty regularly understaffs its stores. This leads to employees missing breaks. 

Most annoyingly, the complaint says stores often cuts associates out of schedules even after they have been told to come in or are on their way to work. It also fails to pay them reporting time pay when they call in.

Furthermore, the complaint alleges that wage statements are incorrect. Overtime rates and meal and rest breaks are inaccurate because they are calculated without taking into account non-discretionary bonuses. 

Employees are expected to keep track of these schedules with an app on their cell phones. The complaint alleges that Ulta Beauty does not properly reimburse them for this.

Two classes and two subclasses have been defined for this action.

  • The FLSA Class is all individuals currently or formerly employed by Ulta Beauty in the US who worked in a retail store, were classified as non-exempt, and were paid on an hourly basis, at any time between August 12, 2016 and a date to be determined by the court.
  • The California Class is all individuals who work or worked in a retail Ulta Beauty store in the US, were classified as non-exempt, and were paid on an hourly basis, at any time between August 12, 2015 and the date determined by the court.
  • The Manager Subclass is class members whose job titles were Store Manager or Assistant Manager or their equivalents. 
  • The Waiting Time Subclass is members of the California Class whose employment with Ulta Beauty ended between August 12, 2016 and the date of trial in this case.
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