A lawsuit which seeks class action status was filed against Costco Wholesale Inc. claiming violations of California wage and hour laws. Mary Pytelewski, a full time employee at a San Diego area Costco store for over 10 years filed the suit.
Pytelewski alleges that Costco company policy requires employees to clock out and then remain locked in the store for 15 minutes while managers close the store each night. In addition to wage and hour violations, her attorneys state that Costco’s practice of locking the employees inside the store after they clock out is the equivalent of false imprisonment. The lawsuit seeks $50 million in damages.
When Pytelewski complained about the practice she was “rebuffed and ridiculed at every turn.” Then she was given a negative evaluation, and a supervisor was assigned to her cash register at closing time to watch her.
Her attorney David Sanford stated “Costco makes the false claim that locking these employees inside its warehouses until store managers and supervisors complete their closing routines is necessary for store security.”
By my calculations, IF Ms. Pytelewski was a full time employee who was prevented from leaving 15 minutes a day, 5 days per week, 50 weeks per year for 10 years that would equal 37,500 minutes. That is 625 hours, or the equivalent of over 78 eight hour workdays without hourly or overtime pay.
If the allegations are true, I wonder how many other Costco employees will join the lawsuit, in California as well as other states.