Former Walmart employees asked a federal judge in California for class certification in their lawsuit alleging that their former employer improperly calculated workers’ sick pay.

They claim the case is ripe for a class action settlement because the proposed class was subject to the same sick pay calculation policy.

Dearl Powell, Christina Gast and Elijha Gonzalez requested the court on Friday, April 15 to certify the class of workers in their suit filed against Walmart Inc.

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They say the proposed class of workers all suffered in the same way as a result of the alleged improper calculations, which failed to factor in bonus pay to sick pay rates, in violation of California labor law.

The workers said: “Here, the question of whether defendant properly calculates sick pay wages is an undisputed question of law and fact that can be adjudicated class-wide,”

The lawsuit, which also names Wal-Mart Associates and Wal-Mart Stores as defendants was filed in state court in September 2020 but was removed to federal court in December 2020.

Walmart endeavored to have the suit dismissed, but the bid was rejected by the U.S. In February, District Judge Roger Benitez presided over a hearing.

He said the company could not claim that the laws were ambiguous or that the company was simply wrong to justify dismissal at that point in the case.

The employees claimed that Walmart illegally failed to include quarterly MyShare non-discretionary bonus pay in their sick pay rates.

MyShare incentives are paid out per fiscal quarter and are issued about six weeks after the quarter in which they are earned.

Employees claimed that when they took sick leave during a quarter when MyShare incentive pay was awarded, the bonus pay was not factored into their sick pay rates because it was awarded at the end of the quarter.

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For example, if an employee takes sick leave for one day in mid-December and receives a MyShare incentive for the fiscal quarter from November to January, the sick rate of pay was not adjusted for the bonus award received during that quarter, according to the workers.

The workers said they meet all of the criteria for class certification under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

The class meets the numerosity requirement, the workers said, because there are an estimated 6,033 workers who fit into the class definition:

All non-exempt California Walmart employees whose employment ended on or after April 6, 2017, and who were paid sick pay while also earning MyShare incentives.

As per the employees, they also meet the commonality requirement because they are challenging a systemwide pay practice. So the employees assert that the liability and damages can be easily determined on a classwide basis using Walmart’s payroll records.

The workers argued that the typicality requirement is also met because the claims of the named plaintiffs match those of the unnamed class members who fall under the class definition.

The named plaintiffs are also adequate representatives because they share common interests with the class and have retained competent counsel who has litigated many other wage and hour class actions.

Source: Law360

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