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A class action suit filed in San Diego last week against Home Depot alleges that employees were forced to work while off the clock and denied overtime wages, with the total amount lost by plaintiffs exceeding $5 million. The company is also accused of denying workers appropriate rest and meal breaks as required by law.

“Defendant has a corporate policy and/or practice of erasing and/or reducing the amount of overtime wages paid to hourly non-exempt employees,” the complaint states. “Defendant employed various means in order to facilitate the non-payment of overtime wages including, among other things, having managers submit forms to human resources to reduce that Plaintiffs and class members were paid for.”

The complaint further alleges that workers who were required to remain on site after clocking out to discuss work-related matters, or those who had finished their closing-time shifts but were not allowed to leave until their managers had finished work, were not paid for this time.

Due to some of these incidents, some workers claim to have effectively been paid less than minimum wage for the total number of hours they worked.

The plaintiffs seek restoration of any unpaid wages, including overtime pay where appropriate, plus penalties of up to $4,000 per employee from Home Depot.

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Comments

Visduh July 24, 2012 @ 8:47 a.m.

I'd be interested to know if this action is generally a local one, affecting only employees in the SD area, or if it will become national. Repeatedly, we hear of these largest corporations evading the wage-and-hour laws of the states and the federal government, despite the fact that the laws go back to the 1930's, and are fairly simple and should be widely known. When the larger corporations are sued over such matters, it is usually due to overzealous local managers responding to pressures to control costs, and not a top-down effort to break the law. But for these large and presumably well-managed corporations that should know how their unit managers are operating, their ignorance is no excuse whatsoever.

In the case of Home Depot, about the time the founders, Marcus and Blank, left the top spots in the corporation, it was reported that there was no system of wage scales in place company-wide. That was astonishing, and seemed to indicate that many facets of the operation of such a successful operation had been left to chance. But it was believable. Locally the stores never seemed to have enough qualified help to run properly, were never homeowner-friendly, and did little to assist with expert advice.

Although it does not seem to be a factor in this suit, many employers will just tell an employee that he/she is "salaried", and thus ineligible for overtime compensation, regardless of the duties assigned. Small operators may not understand that just wanting to avoid overtime with such a ruse doesn't meet legal tests. Bigger employers, especially if they employ a personnel or HR department, should know better, yet many of them do that all the time.

HD will probably have to settle this, and it will cost the company millions. But then, if HD really gets its act together, could emerge a better place to shop and spend. One of the persistent shortcomings of going to a HD was the poor skills and attitude of many of the employees, and these pay issues may have been the reason. This may cause a real change of heart on the part of top management, but I would not bet on it.

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Dave Rice July 24, 2012 @ 1:32 p.m.

Visduh - to at least partially address your comment, at this point the class involved is statewide - the lead plaintiffs work/have worked at various locations across California.

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anniej July 24, 2012 @ 7:31 p.m.

i have basically stopped going to Home Depot - i spend more time walking the isles looking for an orange vest than i do in my drive to and from there.

last time i was there i asked a sales assistance for help choosing the right kind of paint brush - simple question right? the response "well, here they are lady, pick the prettiest".

i left and drove to Lowe's

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SurfPuppy619 July 24, 2012 @ 9:12 p.m.

If they said that you should have asked right then and there to speak to the store manager........and repeated to the manager what the employee said.

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Visduh July 24, 2012 @ 10:10 p.m.

And there's a good, strong possibility that the answer would have been that the manager was absent and that nobody else could handle the complaint. It would be interesting, however, to see what would happen if someone actually bothered to lodge a complaint. Over the years I made three or four written complaints about things I saw, heard, or experienced at HD, and sent them to Blank, the president. The company responded to all of them, by having the store manager call me. No written response, not once. Did Blank see them? LOL Did anybody really look at them, or did they just shoot them to the store manager for "resolution?" In none of those cases, did I ever see the matter as resolved.

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SurfPuppy619 July 24, 2012 @ 11:46 p.m.

If they said the manager was not there, you go home, Google the CEO and corporate HQ's, call the number and ask to speak with the CEO, and I guarantee you that there will be a serious response. You won't speak to the CEO but every Fortune 200/300/400/500 Company has a special division just for complaints made to the CEO or corporate HQ's. I had a problem with some yahoo's for that security company "ADT" which involved the police, two ADT salespeople/convicted felons and myself, and I was so pissed after the near fist fight I called the CEO, spoke to their people that day, then wrote a 4 page single spaced letter telling them- and putting them ON NOTICE- that if I ever have a problem like that again they are going to be facing the mother of all lawsuits..........ADT employing convicted felons on PROBATION! Unreal. But I got a fast reply and it was a serious reply, probably because they were facing $$$$ liability. Funny how $$$ motivates people to do the right thing.

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Burwell July 24, 2012 @ 10:18 p.m.

I am afraid to shop at Home Depot. I worry about getting hit in the head by a falling pallet, or being killed if the shelving collapses. As seen in the YouTube below, the shelving is very flimsy and poorly designed. If a single vertical or horizontal support fails, the entire shelving structure collapses. The use of such shelving in stores like Home Depot and Costco should be outlawed.

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SurfPuppy619 July 24, 2012 @ 11:40 p.m.

My gawd is that a scary video, that was some serious and very dangerous negligence, a miracle no one was killed......................

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wtr158 July 25, 2012 @ 7:18 a.m.

If you are going to post a video that is titled "My last day at Home Depot" you might want to make sure it is actually a Home Depot!

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Burwell July 25, 2012 @ 7:51 a.m.

I posted a link to a YouTube video only. I did not post the video on YouTube. How do you know this is not a Home Depot video? In any event the shelving at Home Depot is inherently dangerous and should be banned.

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