A federal judge in California has awarded Virgin America flight attendants $77 million for violations of California’s wage and hour laws.
The flight attendants claimed that Virgin did not pay them for all the time they spent before, after, and between flights; for completing written reports; or for time spent training and undergoing required drug testing. They also alleged that Virgin did not allow flight attendants to take meal or rest breaks and that the airline failed to pay overtime and minimum wages.
Virgin argued that the California Labor Code should not apply because the flight attendants did not work principally or exclusively in California. The court rejected that argument because it found that Virgin made compensation decisions from its headquarters in California.
After certifying a class of more than 1,000 flight attendants, the court granted summary judgment against Virgin and ordered the company to pay them $77 million. The case is Bernstein et al. v. Virgin America Inc., No. 3:15-cv-02277 (N.D. Cal.).
How State and Local Laws Protect Employees
This case highlights the importance of state and local laws when it comes to protecting the rights of employees. In addition to California, the State and City of New York have passed employment laws that grant employees more protection than federal laws. It is important that your lawyer understands all of your options to get the best result.
Many of these laws have strict deadlines for filing a claim. If you have a dispute over your hours or wages, you should consult with an employment lawyer immediately to protect your rights.