An Under Armour Retail employee has brought a suit against the company – claiming it artificially depressed its employees’ overtime earnings and refused to compensate them for untaken meal and rest breaks.
In her complaint, plaintiff Brenda Cardenas accused the athletic wear giant of intentionally and maliciously violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and the California Labor Code by excluding commissions and bonuses from its overtime rate calculations and failing to properly compensate its workers for meal and rest breaks they never took.
Cardenas further asserted, "Defendants' acts and omissions have knowingly and intentionally caused harm to plaintiff and the class. Defendants have engaged in systemic violations of the Labor Code … by maintaining practices, policies and customs that are inconsistent with their obligations under California law."
Cardenas, who says she left her job as a San Diego County-based retail worker in February, claims Under Armour never fully compensated her or her colleagues for the overtime hours they worked. While the company applied the FLSA-mandated, time-and-a-half multiplier to base hourly rates, Cardenas says the company did not factor in commissions and other regular, on-the-job bonuses workers earned in those overtime rate calculations.
Most bonuses, with the exception of discretionary payouts untied to any employment agreements or other promises, are considered part of a worker's standard pay and are subject to overtime rate multiplication under the FLSA. Under Armour's failure to include those bonuses as standard wages meant she earned less than her federally mandated time-and-a-half rate, Cardenas said.
Cardenas also alleged that Under Armour's meal break policies flew in the face of the California Labor Code. Not only did the company often refuse to allow workers to take the unbroken meal and rest breaks guaranteed to them under California state law, Cardenas alleged, it failed to compensate its workforce for their unbroken days with so-called premium wages.
"Defendants willfully failed in their affirmative obligation to consistently pay plaintiff and the class one additional hour of pay at the respective regular rate of compensation for each workday that a fully compliant meal period was not provided," Cardenas said.
The California Labor Code, like the FLSA, defines the "regular rate" of compensation as standard wages inclusive of commissions and other nondiscretionary bonuses.
Cardenas further accused the company of refusing to pay former employees the value of their untaken vacation time, sick leave and other paid time off upon ending their employment and of failing to maintain accurate and itemized wage statements.
All those allegedly illegal pay practices applied universally to all employees, Cardenas said. She, therefore, asked for the creation and right to lead a class of all non-overtime exempt California-based employees pursuing unpaid overtime and premium wage claims under the California Labor Code claims, with a class period extending back four years.
Cardenas also asked for the formation of a nationwide collective of non-overtime exempt Under Armour workers seeking the FLSA unpaid overtime claims dating back three years.