A preliminary $1.65 million settlement appears to have been reached in a wage and hour class action lawsuit involving CorePower Yoga. According to a news report, a fairness hearing is scheduled to June to determine if final approval on the settlement is warranted.
The class action lawsuit was filed in October by William Walsh at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Class members allege that CorePower Yoga failed to pay minimum wage to various employees who were required to buy studio memberships at a discount.
Failure to Pay Minimum Wage
This seemed to be a pseudo barter agreement. The article states CorePower had initiated a program dubbed “Yoga for Trade” where the operator extended memberships to students in its yoga classes willing to work a weekly two- or three-hour shift as a custodian. According to the lawsuit, the defendant began to phase out the program, but continued to allow the students to earn an hourly wage for weekly shifts as part of the Studio Experience program.
However, the students said they were also required to apply a large portion of their wages toward the purchase of a discounted membership. So, in fact, they were paid below minimum wage under federal law as well as California law. The wage and hour class includes about 2,700 students who participated in the Yoga for Trade program together with about 4,900 students enrolled in the Studio Experience Team.
Minimum Wage Laws
Effective Jan. 1, 2017, the minimum wage for all industries in California became $10.50 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $10 for employers with 25 or fewer employees. Most employers in California are subject to both federal and state minimum wage laws.
Also, local entities such as cities are allowed to enact minimum wage rate for employees working within their jurisdiction. Cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco have recently done that.
California’s current law requires a higher minimum wage than federal law. All employers in the state who are subject to both laws must pay the state minimum wage rate unless their employees are exempt under state law. Similarly if the local entity has adopted a higher minimum wage, employees must be paid the local wage where it is higher than the state or federal minimum wage rates.
Protecting Your Rights
If you believe that your employer has not paid you your due wages, has failed to pay you for overtime hours worked or has misclassified your job to pay you lower wages, please understand that you have legal rights. In cases where a number of employees have been affected, a class action lawsuit may be possible. Contact an experienced California employment lawyer who will fight for your rights and help you secure the compensation you rightfully deserve.