Business & Economy

Inland Empire workers file 2nd lawsuit against Mira Loma Walmart distribution center

Schneider Logistics operates a Walmart distribution center in Mira Loma area near Riverside.
Schneider Logistics operates a Walmart distribution center in Mira Loma area near Riverside.
Steven Cuevas/KPCC

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Warehouse workers from the Inland Empire have filed a second class action federal lawsuit against a big Walmart distribution center in Mira Loma.

Employees are claiming that they were coerced into signing contracts that waived their right to overtime pay.

Attorneys filed the lawsuit after workers accused warehouse operator Schneider Logistics of imposing a schedule that required them to work overtime without pay. They say employees initially agreed to switch from a traditional five-day work week to four days, 10 hours a day.

But then, workers say, the company failed to consistently guarantee that schedule.

“Under the alternative work week schedule, the employer is required to give them the full schedule," says Theresa Traber, attorney for the plaintiffs'. She points out that California labor law mandates notifications for this kind of scheduling; but Schneider Logistics called workers in as needed — sometimes five days a week, sometimes fewer.

Whenever they worked the agreed-upon 4 day, 10-hour schedule, the company would refuse to pay overtime for the extra two hours.

"They force them to waive the overtime they would otherwise get for the ninth and tenth hour," Traber explained. "They have the workers sign a form that waives their right to overtime for the time between eight and ten hours on a daily basis that, too, is illegal and just advances the scam.”

Workers are seeking an unspecified amount of back pay going back four years.

They also want a federal judge to force Schneider to comply with California labor laws. Meanwhile, Schneider maintains that it already is — and that it offered workers a fair alternative schedule.

The complaint follows another federal lawsuit that involved dozens of Schneider employees who claim the company shorted them on their paychecks, forced them to work in unsafe conditions and denied them breaks and overtime pay.

A court hearing in that case is set for Wednesday.