Calif. Pot Co. Stiiizy Hit with Wage, Meal, and Break Suit

California cannabis retail chain has been hit with a proposed class action by a former employee who says employees were denied meal and rest breaks, weren’t paid overtime wages and weren’t reimbursed for business expenses.

Consuelo Diaz-Rodriguez filed the complaint against Stiiizy Inc. and RP Staffing Inc. in California Superior Court on Wednesday.

According to the complaint, RP Staffing is a California-based staffing company that deployed Diaz-Rodriguez to work at one of Stiiizy’s cannabis factories performing general labor duties.

Diaz-Rodriguez says she is suing both companies because they are "joint employers," and both companies had the ability to control wages, hours and working conditions.

The complaint says the companies consistently failed to provide employees with at least one half-hour off-duty meal period every five hours worked as well regular 10-minute rest periods.

The companies also allegedly failed to compensate workers for all hours worked, knowingly and intentionally failed to provide adequate pay stubs or itemized statements showing employees the total hours they worked and failed to reimburse workers for business expenses.

Diaz-Rodriguez specifically says workers were required to arrive five minutes before the start of their shift in order to wash their hands and put on gloves, face shields, hair covers and shoe covers. But according to the complaint, employees were never compensated for this extra time performing work-related tasks.

Additionally, Diaz-Rodriguez claims, Stiiizy never compensated workers for missed meal breaks or rest periods and pressured workers to use the calculator on their personal cellphones to complete work-related tasks and purchase special gloves and knives — none of which employees were reimbursed for, according to the complaint.

Workers often missed meal breaks or were pressured to take short, on-premises breaks that were often interrupted, the complaint says.

"Typically, plaintiff would work above four-hour work shifts ... during these work shifts, plaintiff would be required to do many work duty tasks around the business facility ... it would be very busy where they would not be able or permitted to take all of their entitled uninterrupted 10-minute rest breaks each four hours or a 30-minute uninterrupted meal break every five hours at a reasonably practicable time," the complaint says.

Diaz-Rodriguez's complaint is on behalf of all nonexempt employees employed by Stiiizy who worked for the company in California from four years prior to the date the complaint was filed through the date of a signed order certifying the class. The complaint also includes 21 potential subclasses of nonexempt employees. The complaint estimates the number of class members to be more than 100.

Diaz-Rodriguez seeks damages in the form of unpaid wages, missed meal and rest breaks and unreimbursed business expenses as well as statutory penalties, declaratory and injunctive relief, attorney fees and a jury trial.

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