Class Actions: Generally Not Nutritional


EmpBlog-5.2.2013-nutrition label

A group of former employees of a popular vitamin and nutritional supplement store filed a lawsuit against their employer for allegedly failing to pay them for overtime hours.  The suit was originally filed in July of 2011 against General Nutrition Corp. after the employees purportedly realized they were not receiving adequate compensation for working night shifts at the company.  A judge recently granted class status to the case.  The class includes approximately 8,000 workers.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the Fair Labor Standards Act declares that employees have the right to be aware of the laws regarding minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards.  If an employer fails to compensate for overtime hours, employees have the right to file a lawsuit.  California law includes similar, and often more stringent, requirements.  In the General Nutrition Corp. case, the employees claimed, among other things, that the corporation discourages its employees from clocking in their overtime hours or on days they weren’t originally scheduled to work.  Indeed, some of the employees allege they were asked to work on certain days off schedule and perform closing duties off the clock.  However, their paychecks didn’t reflect the extra hours they put in for the company.

This type of lawsuit isn’t uncommon, unfortunately.  In addition to off the clock violations, employers frequently miscalculated overtime by failing to include all of the eligible employee earnings into base compensation.  California labor law requires that the rate of pay on which overtime pay is calculated include hourly wages, salaries, and wage augments, such as shift differentials, non-discretionary bonuses, commissions, or piece-rate pay if received by the employee.  When additional applicable compensation is left out of the equation, calculating overtime on hourly wage only is an overtime violation.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP.  It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked.  So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again.  This is commentary people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing.  No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits).  But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you.  And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry).  Big news: Copyright 2013.  All rights reserved; yep, all of them.

If you have any questions about this article, contact the writer directly, assuming he or she was brave enough to attach their name to it.  If you have any questions regarding this blog or your life in general, contact Kelly O. Scott, Esq., commander in chief of this blog and Head Honcho (official legal title) of ECJ’s Employment Law Department, at (310) 281-6348 or

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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