Albertson’s agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit for $2.5 million in November 2020.
Delivery drivers employed by the grocery store chain in California filed a class-action lawsuit in March 2019.
The three filing plaintiffs accused Albertson’s of various labor law violations, including:
- Using unpaid call-in scheduling practices,
- Failing to pay delivery drivers for time spent picking up their deliveries,
- Refusing to allow employees to use their accrued sick leave, and
- Violating employees’ privacy.
The plaintiffs filed a motion to approve Albertson’s settlement offer on October 30, 2020, on behalf of a Class of more than 820 non-exempt part-time delivery drivers. The plaintiffs alleged that the Class deserved more than $14 million in compensation.
However, they said they wanted to avoid going to court if possible. The parties reached the settlement agreement after heated discussions between the defending and prosecuting attorneys.
Initially filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, a judge moved the case to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division.
Allegations Against Albertson’s
Illegal Call-in Scheduling Policies
The plaintiffs claimed that Alberton’s required part-time delivery drivers to call a hotline every night to learn if they were scheduled for a shift the following day. A recording would list the next day’s drivers and their call time every night.
The plaintiffs argued that Albertson’s failure to compensate employees for the time spent calling in violated California labor laws. Delivery drivers also said they sometimes had to call the phone number multiple times per night to hear an accurate list of scheduled employees.
Refusing to Pay Employees Earned Wages
According to the lawsuit, Albertson’s had a written policy requiring delivery drivers to report to the distribution facility and pick up their load 15 minutes before their scheduled shift began. Employees did not receive compensation for this additional time. The plaintiffs also complained of unpaid security searches at the end of their shifts.
Declining Employees Sick Leave
The plaintiffs stated that Albertson’s would not allow them to use their accumulated sick leave. Delivery drivers who attempted to use sick leave were penalized, according to the lawsuit.
Invading Truck Driver’s Privacy
Albertson’s allegedly installed video cameras inside the cabs of its delivery trucks. Drivers complained that the cameras recorded private conversations without their knowledge or consent. Albertson’s said that the cameras only started recording when they sensed aggressive motion like hard braking or a collision. The plaintiffs argued, nonetheless, that this was an invasion of the driver’s privacy.
The Plaintiffs’ Accusations and California Labor Laws
California’s labor laws require that employers pay employees for all the time spent “under the control of the employer.” This standard includes on-call and standby time. Similarly, California labor law mandates that employers provide payment to employees for reporting time, even if they do not perform work-related actions during that time.
The Settlement’s Compensation Details
Albertson’s agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit for $2.5 million. $1.5 million will be distributed among the more than 800 Class members. The three plaintiffs that filed the case will each receive $15,000 in incentive awards. The remaining $1 million will cover attorney fees, administrative costs, and more than $37,000 in fines to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
CALIFORNIA CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT ATTORNEYS
When a group of employees shares a common complaint against their employer, they can pursue a class-action lawsuit. In California, class-action lawsuits hold employers accountable for wrongful actions against their workforce, protecting future employees from harm and compensating past or current employees.
At the Workplace Rights Law Group, our California class action lawsuit attorneys passionately advocate for California workers. With nearly 75 years of combined experience in employment law and millions of dollars recovered for our clients, we know how to take on large chains like Albertson’s.
If you believe that your employment rights were violated, give one of our California class-action lawsuit attorneys a call at (818) 844-5200 or submit our contact form for a free case review.