Cannabis companies that now enjoy the protections of the law in an ever-increasing number of states are discovering that the law also protects the workers who make their massive profits possible. Those employed in the industry are standing up for their rights in the face of employment practices that violate federal overtime, wage and hour, and other employment laws. This includes a recently filed class action lawsuit by Overtime Pay Attorneys against two large California cannabis companies on behalf of workers who claim that the companies violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and the California Labor Code by forcing them to work long hours in oppressive conditions without providing overtime pay, meal breaks, or accurate wage statements.
Overtime Pay Attorneys filed the 11-count complaint on November 21, 2019, against cannabis harvesting company Loud Buddha LLC and Pura Cali Management Corp, a cultivation contractor hired by Loud Buddha to provide services on its marijuana farm. The two plaintiffs cultivated and harvested cannabis for Pura Cali between October and November 2019 and filed the suit on behalf of a proposed class that includes all current and former hourly cannabis workers who worked for either company at any point over the past four years.
In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Loud Buddha and Pura Cali:
- Forced employees to work 12-hour days, seven days a week.
- Expected workers to remain in the mountains all day, every scheduled day, and threatened employees with discipline if they failed to do so.
- Failed to accurately track the employees’ time, scribbling hours in notebooks and rounding them down.
- Did not provide required meal and rest breaks.
- Failed to reimburse workers for expenses they incurred while working, including meals and travel.
- Paid workers a flat $15 hourly rate, in cash, and did not calculate overtime pay.
- Kept inaccurate and unreliable time records that deprived workers of wages earned and did not comply with the FLSA’s record-keeping requirements.
This lawsuit is just one example of cannabis industry workers standing up for their rights against employers who may not understand their legal obligations or believe they can get away with FLSA violations due to the fact that cannabis remains a prohibited controlled substance under federal law.
However, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit recently held, the FLSA and its requirements as to overtime pay apply to workers in state-legal cannabis businesses.
Cannabis Industry Workers: Contact the Overtime Pay Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation.
As the legal cannabis market gets off the ground in California, Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, and other states, employers in the industry need to treat their workers fairly and in compliance with the FLSA and other state and federal laws. If you are a cannabis worker and believe your employer is failing to pay you overtime or otherwise violating wage and hour laws, speak with an experienced wage and overtime pay attorney to understand your rights. Together, we can ensure that you receive every dollar you deserve for every hour you work.