California wage and hour class action suit transferred to federal court
California has strict laws that regulate employer treatment of employees regarding wages, hours, benefits and other terms of employment.
In June 2014, a class action lawsuit against Wipro, a large technology company, was removed to federal court under the federal Class Action Fairness Act or CAFA. The suit was originally filed in California state court in Los Angeles by an Indian citizen employed as a computer architect at the company's California location on a work visa. The plaintiff alleges that he and others were routinely not paid the overtime pay required by California state wage and hour laws.
CAFA allows a class action defendant to request removal of a state court class action suit to federal court if certain conditions are met, notably the requirement that the total potential recovery by the class of allegedly harmed individuals is more than $5 million in aggregate.
The lawsuit alleges Wipro of certain violations of state law including:
- Not paying required overtime
- Not paying for travel time
- Violating state unfair competition law
- Misclassifying employees as ineligible for overtime
- Failing to pay wages owed upon employee separation
- And more
Top Class Actions reports that the complaint alleges that Wipro took advantage of foreign employees on work visas who were unlikely to understand California labor laws that create employer obligations to fairly pay employees according to particular standards and requirements. Wipro emphatically denies the allegations.
Employers, employees and their advocates are likely to watch this lawsuit with interest.
All California employers facing conflicts about wage and hour issues, or any employment law issue should seek legal advice. The types of claims raised in the WIPRO case can cause California employers significant issues. Employers should seek legal advice to insure that they understand what to do in the event of such a claim, and to insure that they understand risk areas, and for planning purposes to avoid those risk areas.
From their office in San Jose, the business lawyers of Diemer & Wei, LLP, represent both employees and employers in employment law matters, especially those involving the technology industries.