Starbucks docked worker for meal breaks he couldn’t take, lawsuit says

August 8, 2017

LOS ANGELES — Starbucks Corp. required a delivery driver with its Evolution Fresh juice subsidiary to check and respond to his manager’s dictates through meal and rest breaks — and then was docked pay despite being kept on duty, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.

Drivers also were required to remain on duty and use their company-issued cellphones to communicate with their managers before and after their scheduled shifts, but were never paid for that time, according to the lawsuit.

“California statutes are very clear: When you’re on duty, you’re working and you should be paid,” said Attorney David Yeremian, whose Los Angeles practice specializes in employment law. “Starbucks compounded this employee’s ill-treatment by then denying him pay for working during his meal breaks and not paying overtime despite requiring him to be on duty outside of his work shift.”

State labor law requires employers to provide uninterrupted duty-free 30-minute meal breaks for all non-exempt employees who work at least five hours in a day. A second meal break is required after 10 hours, which Starbucks also did not allow the driver to take, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed today in Santa Cruz County Superior Court on behalf of Walter Savinovich, an Evolution Fresh driver who served Starbucks in the Santa Cruz area. It seeks class action certification to include other Evolution Fresh drivers similarly owed wages and compensation. Seattle-based Starbucks and Evolution Fresh, based in San Bernardino, are named as defendants.

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