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Forever 21 Sued by Employees Over Unpaid Labor

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

Popular retail chain Forever 21 is being sued by some former and current retail employees. The California class action suit claims that workers were not properly compensated for the company's employee bag checks.

The named plaintiffs also claim that the store routinely made them work off the clock.

Routine bag checks were utilized for many employees, according to the complaint.

The workers claim that the bag checks were a part of their employment. As a result, the time spent waiting for the bag checks should be compensated.

Federal and state laws often mandate that employees need to be paid in certain situations even if they aren't technically "working." Workers may need compensation if they are "on call" or if they are under the employer's control and are doing something for the benefit of the employer.

Plaintiffs claimed they clocked out to take their lunch breaks and to leave work. But they were forced to submit to the bag check before they were allowed to exit. These inspections were used to ensure employees didn't leave with merchandise.

The amount of time they spent waiting for checks were rather small. The complaint outlines that each bag check took around 10 minutes. Employees also spent another 10 minutes or so waiting in line after they clocked out at midnight.

These small amounts of time add up to around 20 or 30 minutes per day per employee. Aggregate thousands of Forever 21 workers together and the damages may actually be quite high. Plaintiffs' attorney Patrick Kitchin says that the practice seems to be widespread, according to the Huffington Post.

Kitchin expects the Forever 21 lawsuit to be bigger than a similar Polo Ralph Lauren case from 2010. That suit cost the fashion label $4 million. The Polo claim was also about uncompensated employee bag checks.

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