Earlier this month, a California court judge issued a tentative decision denying certification of eight subclasses of amusement park workers in Case No. BC505344, Villegas v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones did however suggest she would consider certification of several others pending further briefing.
In April of 2013, plaintiffs Andrew Villegas, Jennifer Gilmore, Dustin Liggett and Hans Gundelfinger, all former Six Flags employees, filed a putative class action accusing their former employer of numerous labor law violations, including failure to pay employees overtime wages, provide mandatory meal and rest breaks or proper seating. The four plaintiffs sought to represent a class of current and former Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor employees who worked at the parks located north of Los Angeles.
The plaintiffs worked as ride mechanics, ride operators and game attendants at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor between August 2005 and July 2012, according to the lawsuit. Around the time of the original lawsuit, the parks employed approximately 39,000 seasonal employees (2012), compared to about 1,900 full-time employees.
Six Flags Magic Mountain opposed the plaintiffs' motion for class certification citing a lack of evidence of common issues–a particular requirement for class certification. Magic Mountain cited the significant number of employees working various jobs, specifically 25,000 employees, 25 different departments, and 255 positions.
Numerous subclasses have been defined in this case:
- “shaved time” subclass – a class consisting of workers whose wages were not fully paid
- “walking time” subclass – a class consisting of workers who were not compensated for time spent walking to break areas
- “rounding subclass” – a class consisting of employees whose hours were manually reduced
- “regular rate subclass – two subclasses consisting of employees whose overtime rates were based on hourly rates, not “regular rate of pay”
Superior Court Judge Jones issued a tentative decision denying certification for the majority of the subclasses, including the “shaved time” and “walking time” subclasses. However, the judge suggested she would, upon additional briefing, consider certification of additional classes, namely the “rounding subclass” and two “regular rate subclasses”. As with the tentative ruling, judge Jones is sure to closely evaluate the presence of, or lack of commonality across each subclass as examples are brought forth by the plaintiffs.
The experienced California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley will continue to follow this case and related class action cases dealing with California or national labor laws. In the meantime, to discuss these laws, or a related claim on your behalf, feel free to call us toll-free at (818) 990-8300 or click here to contact us via email.