Operations at a distribution center in Ontario, California that handles logistics for Louis Vuitton are coming under the microscope in a new lawsuit, one in which a former employee claims that he – and hundreds of others – engaged in work-related tasks off-the-clock, such as pre-shift temperature checks, and pre- and post-shift security checks, but were not compensated for the time required to do so. In the complaint that he filed in a federal court in California on July 16 against Manpower U.S. and Kuehne + Nagel, plaintiff Troy Crossley asserts that the staffing agency and logistics company are on the hook for violating the various labor laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act. Louis Vuitton is not named as a defendant in the suit.
According to the complaint, which was first reported by Bloomberg, Crossley claims that he was formerly employed by Manpower U.S. and Kuehne + Nagel at Louis Vuitton’s distribution center in California as a non-exempt hourly factory worker. After being hired by Manpower U.S., which is contracted by Kuehne + Nagel for staffing purposes, Crossley alleges that he was responsible for “picking and receiving orders … under the supervision of Kuehne + Nagel, Inc.’s employees, who operate the Distribution Center.” Together, Crossley asserts that Manpower U.S. and Kuehne + Nagel (the “defendants”) “jointly control the day-to-day work experiences” of the employees at the Louis Vuitton distribution center, including requiring employees “to undergo a temperature check, provide their IDs to be held throughout the duration of the workday, retrieve a temporary badge and a social distancing sensor vest which tracks proximity to other employees within six feet, and wait for all employees to undergo these pre-shift processes prior to entering the Distribution Center where the timeclock is located.”
In requiring the center’s employees to engage in these tasks, which are performed in “pre-shift [and] post-shift” capacities, and “outside of scheduled hours,” and failing to compensate them for “all of the time that they spend working for [the defendants’] benefit,” Crossley claims that the defendants engaged in “unlawful patterns and practices of failing to meet the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act [and] the California Labor Code,” among other federal and state laws.
Mr. Crossley – who maintained his employment from November to December 2020 – alleges that he was paid at “an hourly rate of $16.50, [and] on average, worked sixty-six hours in a workweek every week” – or an average of “approximately eleven and a half hours in a day, six days a week,” including the time spent doing mandatory pre- and post-shift activities. “As [he] and the Putative Class and Collective Members regularly work in excess of eight hours per day and forty hours per week,” Crossley argues that “at least some of this off-the-clock work should be compensated at overtime rates.” More than that, Crossley claims that the defendants have “also failed to pay all wages after these hourly employees, like [himself], voluntarily or involuntarily terminated their employment with [them].”
And still yet, Crossley alleges that in furtherance of their “common course of wage-and-hour abuse,” the defendants also “routinely fail to maintain true and accurate records of the hours worked by the Putative Class and Collective members.” In particular, Crosssley asserts that they “failed to record hours that [he] and Putative Class and Collective members work while off-the-clock,” with 20-minute-long security checks, for example, going “unrecorded and uncompensated, [and thereby], giving rise to minimum wage and overtime violations.”
With the foregoing in mind, Crossley accuses the defendants of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, applicable California Labor Code provisions, the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order, and the Unfair Business Practices Act of the California Business and Professions Code, and claims that he and the proposed class of current and former employees suffered damages “in an amount that exceeds [the jurisdictional requirement of] $75,000.00.” As for who the proposed class members are, Crossley aims to permit “all current and former hourly, non-exempt factory employees of Manpower U.S., Inc. and Kuehne + Nagel, Inc. who worked in the U.S. during the time period three years prior to the filing of this Complaint until the resolution of this action” to join in the case against Manpower and Kuehne + Nagel.
Paris-based Louis Vuitton is not accused of any wrongdoing in the complaint.
The case is Troy Crossley v. Manpower U.S., Kuehne + Nagel, Inc, et. al., 5:21-cv-01196 (C.D.Cal.)