Sirius XM and Pandora have been hit with a proposed class action in California federal court estimated to cost the companies $5.8 million, alleging employees were uncompensated for equipment and utilities they had to pay for in order to do their jobs.
Jessica Potts has sued broadcasting company Sirius XM Radio Inc. and Pandora Media LLC for not reimbursing employees who paid for business needs out of their own pockets, such as internet service, routers, chairs, desks, lighting and phone service, in violation of California labor laws. Potts originally sued in California Superior Court, but the case was removed to federal court Friday.
"Defendants failed to fully reimburse the class members and the aggrieved employees for necessary expenditures incurred as a direct consequence and requirement of performing their job duties," Potts said in the complaint.
In its motion to remove the case to federal court, Sirius XM and Pandora estimated that it could owe $5,856,000 to an estimated 2,418 employees in the proposed class if they spent around $100 a month on uncompensated business needs.
"Accepting the allegations in the complaint as true for purposes of removal only, the amount-in-controversy threshold is easily exceeded by considering only two of the allegedly unreimbursed business expenses," the companies said, in an effort to justify the suit as a federal case.
Potts also claimed the companies didn't provide accurate wage statements. She said Sirius XM and Pandora employee pay stubs did not include the floor or suite number for the companies' mailing addresses as required by California law.
Potts said these violations — the lack of compensation for work-related expenses and the inaccurate wage statements — further violated California's Unfair Competition Law because they put the companies' employees at a disadvantage.
"These practices constitute unfair and unlawful competition and provide an unfair advantage over defendants' competitors who have been and/or are currently employing workers and attempting to do so in honest compliance with applicable wage and hour laws," Potts said.
The proposed class aims to include all employees who worked for the companies in California from Nov. 15, 2017, to Nov. 15, 2021, which Sirius XM and Pandora estimated in its motion to remove the case amounts to 2,418 employees. The proposed class of workers is seeking civil penalties, injunctive relief, interest and attorney fees.