One former and two current Hertz Corp. employees in the Los Angeles area filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday against the rental car company, alleging staff were forced to work off-the-clock.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that Hertz created small "Hertz Local" branches staffed with only a handful of employees.
Each branch was given responsibility for "sizable" rental fleets and large customer bases, making it "practically impossible" for employees to take meal and rest breaks, according to the lawsuit.
Employees were required to clock out for meal breaks but continue working, and were not compensated for all the hours they worked, the lawsuit alleges.
"These employees are the face of Hertz," said Sean Andrade, an attorney for the plaintiffs. "For Hertz to care about only shareholder profits ... it's unacceptable, it's against the law and it must stop."
Chalissa Johnson, a former Hertz employee and one of the plaintiffs, said management at her Hertz location in Moreno Valley would tell her to clock out, but then require her to stay and help customer after customer. If she asked to clock back in, the answer would be no. Johnson left Hertz in June after six months on the job.
"I got into it thinking it would be better for me and my daughter," she said. "I was wrong."
"We take the well-being of our employees very seriously," Hertz said in a statement. "We are not able to comment until we have completed a review of the complaint and an investigation of the allegations."
According to the lawsuit, the alleged labor violations have occurred since at least 2011. The employees are seeking wages, penalties and damages, though an exact amount was not listed because the scope of the problem is unknown, Andrade said.
The lawsuit says Hertz employs or has employed more than 150 workers in the Los Angeles area during the time period. But Andrade said the lawsuit could potentially apply to hundreds, if not thousands, of workers since the same problem has been found in neighboring counties.