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Ann Taylor settles California wage and hour suit for $3.5 million

A retail job is hard work. Anyone who works in a national chain store like Target or Walmart, a local family-owned shop, or anything in between knows that it frequently involves long hours on your feet helping customers, restocking shelves or other duties. As the service industry continues to dominate the U.S. economy, more and more people in California will spend at least part of their lives working retail.

State employment law

California law sets out a minimum wage, the right to overtime pay and other critical protections. To enforce these rules, workers sometimes must take their employer to court, with the help of a skilled employment law attorney of course.

An example from here in California

Recently, a group of more than 8,000 current and former employees of fashion retailer Ann Inc. settled a wage and hour lawsuit with the company for around $3.5 million. California Labor Law News reports that the lawsuit involved accusations of shorting workers on overtime pay and other legal violations.

Ann Inc. is the parent company for Ann Taylor, the clothing chain with about 80 California locations. One of the lead plaintiffs in the suit worked at a Los Angeles Ann Taylor store for two years, ending in 2013. The lawsuit filed by him and another Ann Taylor employee accused the company of:

  • Failing to meet minimum wage requirements
  • Failing to pay workers what they were owed for overtime
  • Not providing required rest and meal breaks
  • Not providing severance pay in a timely manner

Besides compensating workers, lawsuits like this can motivate California businesses to do better. The prospect of expensive litigation often frightens employers into following the law.