Los Angeles, CA: Anheuser-Busch is facing an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit filed in California federal court alleging the company failed to pay its drivers overtime. Further, the lawsuit alleges that the beverage giant implemented pay structure that discouraged workers from taking required meal breaks and rest periods, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California labor law.
Plaintiffs Charles Hill and Joe Correa, each of whom drove delivery trucks for Anheuser-Busch in California, allege "Anheuser-Busch's violations ... were willful and intentional."
According to the lawsuit, Hill has worked for Anheuser-Busch from about June 1999 through to the present, and Correa from 1985. During this time, a typical day work day for them involved picking up alcoholic beverages from a storage facility and delivering them to retail locations throughout the state of California. Drivers are allegedly paid a flat rate per day plus about 10 cents per case for every case delivered. Hill and Correa claim that the drivers can often work between eight to ten hours per day, which results in more than 40 hours per week, yet they are not compensated for the overtime.
Further, the lawsuit claims that despite there being a written policy in place regarding employees being able to take meal and rest breaks, Anheuser-Busch refused to allow the drivers to take them. The company further established a payment structure discouraging its drivers from taking meal and rest breaks because it would be impossible to be paid for the time.
The plaintiffs also allege the company does not pay its drivers for all hours worked including regular hours, because the company locates its clock out location in a remote area "to encourage drivers to clock out prior to finishing all their work."
"The drivers routinely would clock out first and then proceed to the warehouse to finish their work duties [saving] them a trip back to the clock-out location," the lawsuit states. "Anheuser-Busch knew about this practice but continued to allow the drivers to perform the work."
The unpaid overtime class action lawsuit seeks to represent all Anheuser-Busch truck drivers who drove routes exclusively in California during a four-year period prior to the filing of the instant case.
Additionally, the plaintiffs seek to represent a second "rest break" class comprised of all Anheuser-Busch's California drivers who were paid a flat daily rate plus a piece rate for each case delivered over the course of the same four year period.
The FLSA claims are being brought as a collective action for Anheuser-Busch drivers during a three-year period preceding the complaint.
The case is Charles Hill et al v. Anheuser-Busch InBev Worldwide Inc., case number 2:14-cv-06289, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Plaintiffs are seeking class certification, damages in excess of $5 million as well as back pay, disgorgement for all unfair business practices, pre- and post-judgment interest and attorneys' fees.
The plaintiffs are represented by Michael L. Tracy of Law Offices of Michael Tracy as well as Jose R. Garay of Jose Garay APLC.