Medical marijuana companies – dispensaries, growers and large-scale operations that coordinate the entire supply chain – have recently started getting a lot of attention for failing to stick to California’s wage and hour laws. In fact, they’ve been the subject of a number of class action lawsuits recently. Here’s what you need to know.
Related: What is a class action lawsuit?
Medical Marijuana Retailers and Class Action Lawsuits
A recent lawsuit filed in California Superior Court, right here in Los Angeles County, alleges that two subsidiaries of MedMen, Manlin I and DT Fund II Group, failed to:
- Pay workers their entitled pay for off-the-clock work
- Pay employees for all the work they did, including overtime
- Provide mandatory meal and rest breaks
- Keep accurate records of employees’ hours
Failing to pay employees is a form of wage theft, and that’s against the law. The rules are in place for a reason – and when a company fails to obey them, they’re subject to legal consequences that can even include being taken to court for a class action lawsuit.
What if You Work for a Marijuana Retailer That Doesn’t Pay You Properly?
As a worker in California – regardless of what industry you’re in – you’re entitled to fair pay. Some workers aren’t entitled to overtime pay, but most employees who receive an hourly wage are entitled to it.
Exempt vs. Nonexempt Workers
Some people are exempt from overtime rules that require employers to pay them time-and-a-half for the hours they work. You may be exempt if you:
- Supervise other workers
- Exercise discretion and independent judgment when you’re performing your work duties
- Perform at least 50 percent managerial duties in the course of your work
- Are paid a certain amount of money on a salary basis
Generally, executives, administrative employees, creative professionals, learned professional employees and outside salespeople are exempt.
Nonexempt workers are those who are protected by overtime laws. Usually, hourly workers, those whose primary duties involve manual labor and some others are nonexempt workers.
Overtime Laws in California Related to Medical Marijuana Retailers
The same laws that apply to every other industry apply to California marijuana retailers. The law says that nonexempt employees over the age of 18 (or minors who are 16 or 17, but who aren’t required to go to school and who are eligible to work) can’t work more than 8 hours in a workday or more than 40 hours in a workweek without being paid overtime.
Overtime After 8 Hours, Over 40 Hours and on the 7th Consecutive Day
The law is very clear on overtime pay for nonexempt employees. Here’s how it works:
- If you work more than 8 hours in one day, your employer has to pay you 1.5 times your regular rate for every additional hour. If you work more than 12 hours in the same day, your employer has to pay you twice your regular rate for every additional hour.
- If you work more than 40 hours in one week, your employer has to pay you 1.5 times your regular rate for every additional hour.
- If you work on 7 consecutive days in a week, your employer has to pay you 1.5 times your regular rate for the first 8 hours on the 7th day – and must double your regular rate for every hour over the 8th one.
If you work more than 12 hours in a single workday, or if you work more than 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day of the workweek, your employer has to pay you twice your regular rate.
If you make $20 per hour and work 10 hours in one day, you’re entitled to $30 per hour for the 9th and 10th hours. That means you’d make your regular pay ($160) plus $60 (for the 9th and 10th hours) for a total of $220.
Meal and Rest Breaks When You Work for a Marijuana Retailer
When you work for a marijuana company, you’re entitled to the same meal and rest breaks that most other California workers are entitled to.
You’re allowed to take:
- One 10-minute rest break during a shift lasting between 3.5 hours and six hours
- Two 10-minute rest breaks during a shift lasting between six hours and 10 hours
- One 30-minute meal break during a shift lasting more than five hours
- Two 30-minute meal breaks during a shift lasting more than 10 hours
If your employer denies you these breaks, provided that you’re not an exempt employee, you could have legal recourse.
Do You Work for a Marijuana Retailer That’s Violating Your Employee Rights?
Marijuana retailers – like all other companies operating in California and elsewhere in the U.S. – have to stick to federal and state employment laws. If you’re working for a marijuana company that’s violating your rights, you may have legal recourse. Call us at 818-230-8380 now for a free consultation. We’ll answer your questions and start putting together a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.