It is a common practice for retail stores to check the bags of their employees for merchandise that the employees might be trying to take home with them illegally. However, since these bag checks are required by the employer, the employees must be paid for all of the time spent having their bags checked and waiting in line, if necessary. While this time may be only a few minutes, it can add up, day after day, to a significant loss of wages on the part of the employees. Several retail stores have already faced wage and hour class action lawsuits from employees who were not compensated for the time that they spent waiting to have their bags checked. Now Urban Outfitter is the latest retail store to face a lawsuit for allegedly failing to pay employees for the time it took to have their bags checked before they were allowed to leave.
According to the lead plaintiff, Zayda Santizo, she was allegedly a non-exempt hourly employee at Urban Outfitters and yet she and other hourly employees were allegedly required to have their bags checked outside of their normal schedules. While employees who qualify for one of the overtime exempt categories under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are required to stay until their work is done, however long that takes, all hourly employees must be paid the overtime rate of one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all time that they spend working in excess of eight hours a day or forty hours a week. According to this most recent wage and hour lawsuit, the hourly non-exempt employees at Urban Outfitters allegedly were required by their employer to stay overtime to have their bags checked, but allegedly were not paid the proper overtime rate.
The complaint alleges that the paystubs issued by Urban Outfitters were inaccurate because they allegedly did not reflect the time spent by employees waiting to have their bags checked. Under the FLSA, failure to provide employees with pay stubs which accurately reflect the time spent working and the wages earned by the employee is subject to certain penalties.
In addition to these alleged violations of the FLSA, the wage and hour class action lawsuit also alleges that Urban Outfitters violated certain state statutes as laid out by California labor law.
The wage and hour lawsuit is seeking certification of three sub-classes of current and former employees of Urban Outfitters. The first proposed sub-class includes all employees who worked for Urban Outfitters "at any time beginning four years prior to the filing of the complaint through the date notice is mailed to the class." According to the complaint, an estimated 400 employees allegedly have the potential to be eligible to fit into this first sub-class.
The second proposed subclass includes all workers "whose employment by [Urban Outfitters] ended within three years of filing the complaint." The third proposed sub-class includes all workers "whose employment with [Urban Outfitters] included any period of time during the period beginning one year from the date of the filing of this action." The complaint estimates at least 200 employees have the potential to allegedly qualify for one of these last two sub-classes.