Kaiser Edges Out Competition by Stiffing Workers, Suit Claims
3-21-2019 21:24:00

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – Kaiser’s pattern and practice of shorting hourly employees on their breaks and wages gives them an unfair competitive edge, according to a Labor Code class action filed in Alameda County Superior Court.

Gloria Lingling, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, sued Kaiser Foundation Hospitals for California Labor Code violations, including failure to provide meal and rest breaks, failure to pay hourly wages, failure to provide accurate wage statements and failure to timely pay final wages, and for violations of the California Business and Professions Code for unfair competition.

Lingling says she worked for defendant Kaiser from August 1999 through March 2018. 

According to her action, she and other non-exempt hourly employees were not provided with meal and rest periods in accordance with California labor laws due to chronic understaffing, heavy workloads that precluded taking breaks if the work was to be finished on time, and through the lack of a formal meal and rest period policy. 

Employees were also not paid premium wages in compensation for missed or interrupted meal and rest breaks, the suit states.

Lingling’s action further claims that hourly employees were not paid for all overtime hours worked, due to Kaiser incorrectly calculating the regular rate of pay by not including non-discretionary bonuses and/or shift differential pay.

In addition, Lingling says, wage statements were not accurate because all hours worked, including overtime, were not included. “Inaccurate information on [hourly employees’] wage statements have prevented immediate challenges to defendant’s unlawful pay practices, has required discovery and mathematical computations to determine the amount of wages owed, has caused difficulty and expense in attempting to reconstruct time and pay records, and/or has led to the submission of inaccurate information about wages and deductions to federal and state government agencies,” the complaint charges.

Kaiser also does not pay all that is due on separation, Lingling says. “Defendants have the ability to pay final wages in accordance with Labor Code sections 201 and/or 202 but have intentionally adopted policies or practices that are incompatible with those requirements,” the action alleges.

Finally, Lingling claims that through Kaiser’s unfair and unlawful violations of the Labor Code, Kaiser has gained a competitive advantage over other comparable companies that comply with their legal obligations.

Lingling seeks an order certifying the class and to be appointed class representative with her counsel appointed class counsel, as well as unpaid wages, actual damages, liquidated damages, restitution, declaratory relief, injunctive relief stopping the violations, interest, penalties and legal costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Shaun Setareh and William Pao of the Setareh Law Group in Beverly Hills, California.