A former Nike store assistant manager who claims she was misclassified as an overtime-exempt employee asked a California federal court on March 2nd to force the company to turn over emails from other workers so she can assess claims under the state's Private Attorney General Act (PAGA).
2013 – Payal Patel, a former “assistant head coach” of a Nike Retail Services Inc. store, claimed that she spent the majority of her work shifts engaging in non-exempt tasks while employed from 2010 to 2013. As a result, Patel was named as plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed in November of 2013. The lawsuit alleged that Nike misclassified their Assistant Store Managers as exempt from overtime pay and as a result, did not pay these employees overtime wages, failed to provide the legally mandated meal and rest breaks, and accurate wage statements as required by California law. However, a California federal Judge ruled that the lawsuit brought on behalf of Assistant Store Managers working for Nike Retail Services could not proceed as a class action. The case was therefore to be heard by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
2014 – Heard in federal court in October 2014, Patel's suit again included claims for violations of the California Labor Code and Unfair Competition Law, as well as claims under California's Private Attorney General Act of 2004, which allows aggrieved employees to file lawsuits to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees and the state.
2016 – After being denied class certification again, Patel sought discovery to support her PAGA claims, which included asking Nike to identify the employees who could be covered, payroll records for those workers and emails recapping the hours worked because accurate time records were not kept, according to court documents. Nike objected, arguing that Patel has to identify the “aggrieved employees” she wants the documents for, and said she's actually seeking classwide discovery under another name. After a discovery conference in September, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero issued an order requiring Nike to produce the documents.
Nike then filed a motion to strike Patel's PAGA claims or for a judgment on the pleadings for those claims, arguing that a PAGA action would be unmanageable. After an initial stay, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg issued an order denying the motion in December, saying Nike's concerns were premature and that Patel's request is specific enough. The order said Nike could raise concerns over the manageability issues later on in the case, after it produces the discovery ordered in September.
2017 – Patel filed this most recent motion to compel the company to comply with the Sept. 30 order requiring it to turn over emails between other assistant managers and their supervisors, as well as other documents. The motion also requests the imposition of sanctions in the amount of $3,500 on Nike for violating the order. Patel said Nike has only produced documents concerning herself — though she requested emails for about 100 employees — and said they were provided in paper form, in violation of discovery rules. “As of the date of the filing of this motion, defendant has completely ignored the court's order and has failed to produce any recap emails for the aggrieved employees,” the motion said.
Kingsley & Kingsley – Experienced California Employment Lawyers
The California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley will continue to monitor this case and others involving wage and hour claims. Should you have questions about overtime compensationor reimbursement, call and speak to an experienced California lawyer at (818) 990-8300 or click here to contact us via email.