Allied Universal Security Services, a security company that employs more than 800,000 workers, and many of its affiliates, are facing several claims and class actions alleging that they owe employees unpaid wages in the aftermath of a 2021 data breach that threw a wrench in the companies' timekeeping system. According to court documents, the defendants' timekeeping system, Kronos, became inoperable in December 2021 after a data breach. Plaintiffs say Allied Universal failed to take the necessary steps to accurately track hours worked by employees and pay them overtime wages earned.
Key Points - Table of Contents
- Failure to Pay Overtime Wages Earned
- What is Overtime Pay in California?
- Can You Sue Your Employer for Unpaid Wages?
- Damages in California Unpaid Overtime Lawsuits
- California Unpaid Overtime Attorneys
Failure to Pay Overtime Wages Earned
Instead of paying employees for hours worked, Allied based the workers' wages on prior pay periods and estimates, which failed to properly account for some of the workers' time. As a result, the employees bore the brunt of the Kronos data breach. This meant that average Americans who depend on the timely payment of their wages to make a livelihood ended up bearing the economic burden of this data breach that the company should have prevented with proper safeguards.
The lawsuit further states that Allied Universal's failure to pay workers all of their wages including overtime pay violates California labor laws as well as the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA. Allied Universal has used Kronos for timekeeping and payroll since December 2021. In the wake of the data breach, the companies have used a number of different ways to estimate their workers' hours including paying them based on prior schedules or paychecks, the lawsuit states.
Workers say this resulted in workers being paid much less than what they were owed, particularly for overtime hours worked. The plaintiff in the class action who works for Allied Universal in California said they were paid overtime wages in some cases, but not at the rate required under the law because the companies did not make the necessary adjustments for shift differentials and non-discretionary bonuses. Plaintiffs allege that Allied knew that it had an obligation to pay overtime wages as required under the law, and that the companies' failure to pay workers the correct overtime wage rate was "willful."
You can learn about California's overtime laws here.
What is Overtime Pay in California?
If employees work over 40 hours a week or eight hours in a workday, they must be paid overtime (time and a half). Overtime counts when the work performed is for one company. For security guards, even if they are deployed to different client sites, the employer is the one who cuts the paycheck.
When a security guard works 30 hours at one client site and 20 hours at a different client site in one week, that means the guard should be paid wages for 50 hours including overtime pay at the correct rate for 10 additional hours worked. If security guards on staff receive different wages at each site, overtime pay should reflect the blended rate.
Employees' timesheets should clearly show shift schedule versus actual hours worked. Employers should ensure that the hours are not vague estimates, but a clear reflection of the hours worked by the employee. If the worker's supervisor adjusts their timesheet, it should be carefully reviewed for how those changes impact the employee's pay.
Withholding a worker's pay is illegal under any circumstances. Even in cases where employers are changing payroll systems, transitions must be made with the knowledge that checks will be issued on time and that they will reflect the correct wages based on actual hours worked.
Can You Sue Your Employer for Unpaid Wages?
If your employer has violated California wage and hour laws, you may be able to recover unpaid wages by bringing a labor board complaint or by filing a wage and hour lawsuit against your employer. Lawsuits against employers for overtime violations in California may involve:
- Failure to pay overtime wages for work over 8 hours in a day
- Failure to pay overtime wages for work over 40 hours in a day
- Not paying overtime for working more than six consecutive days
- Forcing employees to work off the clock
- Requiring employees to work during an unpaid meal break or rest break
- Misclassifying workers are "exempt" or "independent contractors"
In addition to direct employers anyone who acts on behalf of an employer such as owners, directors, officers or managing agents could also be held liable for wage and hour violations. Those who have an unpaid wages claim are well advised to contact a knowledgeable Los Angeles unpaid wage attorney.
Damages in California Unpaid Overtime Lawsuits
The amount of damages workers can get in an unpaid wages lawsuit often depends on the specific situation and facts of the case. Employees may be able secure compensation for the amount of the wages that were unpaid, interest on unpaid wages, attorney's fees and court costs.
If your employer violated federal labor laws under FLSA, you may also be eligible to get liquidated damages equal to the amount of unpaid wages or twice the damages. California law allows employees to seek double damages in cases where the employer's overtime pay violation was "willful" or not because of a good-faith error. Liquidated damages include an amount equal to the unpaid wages and interest on those wages. You can learn more about unpaid wage lawsuits in California here.
California Unpaid Overtime Attorneys
If Allied Universal or its affiliates owe you unpaid wages, it is important to act quickly. The statute of limitations for California wage and hour lawsuits is three years from the date of the most recent violation, in most cases. The experienced California unpaid wages lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers can help you recover the wages you are rightfully owed. Call us at (818) 408-6708 to find out how we can help you.
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