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Hourly employees who worked at the San Diego House of Blues before January 31, 2006, may soon be able to claim their share of a $1 million settlement fund set up in the aftermath of a class-action lawsuit. A "claims made settlement" was approved in L.A. Superior Court on February 3. A final hearing will take place May 4.

The lawsuit claimed the House of Blues failed to pay overtime and split-shift wages and didn't provide vacation benefits, meal periods, or rest breaks. If the settlement is finalized, employees of the three Southern California HoB nightspots (West Hollywood, Anaheim, San Diego) will be compensated.

"At orientation, they promised us [medical and dental] benefits," says a former local HoB employee. "But you had to work at least 32 hours a week continuously for four months. If you worked three and a half weeks and then went below 32 hours [in one week], you'd have to start over.... I felt they were misleading. I might show up to work at 11 a.m. to help them load in [sound gear]. Then, at three, they would tell us to cut out and not show up again until 11 o'clock that night. They prevented you from getting overtime by doing that."

The former employee says there were approximately 200 people at the San Diego club's new-employee orientation meeting last April. He estimated that after the attorneys get their 30 percent cut ($300,000), employees at the clubs might get $1000 each.

Jack Gannon, House of Blues VP of public relations, did not respond to a request for comment.

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