Urban Outfitters Latest Employer Charged with Violating Labor Laws
Posted: Thursday, November 14th, 2013 at 4:40 pm
While unpaid intern litigation has dominated the labor law headlines for several months, such situations are not the only unfair labor practices plaguing American workers. The latest litigation involves clothing retailer Urban Outfitters, which allegedly failed to pay workers for all of the hours they worked, violating overtime laws in the process. If the story line sounds familiar, it is likely due to the fact that Apple faced similar claims in a lawsuit filed several months ago.
The suit, Perez v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., was filed in the San Diego County Superior Court, and alleges Urban Outfitters violated California labor law through a policy which required employees to submit to security searches prior to leaving the store or any reason, but after they had clocked out. As a result, employees were on-site waiting for, and participating in, security searches without pay. Lead plaintiff Jasmin Perez alleges that due to this practice, she worked at Urban Outfitters for more than 40 hours a week and more than eight hours a day but was not compensated for the overtime.
The plaintiff’s attorneys are seeking class certification in the suit, aiming to represent the lead plaintiff and all similarly situated Urban Outfitters employees in California. The suit seeks unpaid wages plus interest in addition to civil penalties for the alleged unfair business practices of failure to pay minimum and overtime compensation to employees. According to the complaint, Urban Outfitters violated California labor law by “systematically, unlawfully and unilaterally manipulat[ing] the time records by changing the hours worked by [Perez] and California class members.”
Urban Outfitters is no stranger to litigation of this type, as former department management plaintiffs filed similar lawsuits in New York and New Jersey in late June, though the facts in those cases varied slightly. In the New York litigation, Jeffrey McEarchen et al. v. Urban Outfitters Inc., plaintiffs allege they were required to work more than 40 hours weekly but were not paid for overtime because the company classified them as managers, despite their lack of managerial duties. In the New Jersey case, Lesley Mitchel-Tockman et al. v. Urban Outfitters Inc., plaintiffs allege the company instructed store supervisors to forge timecards to eliminate overtime pay.