Anheuser- Busch is in trouble once again, and it’s not because of lackluster sales, declining market share, or allegations of watering down its beer. This time, according to a Fortune article published on August 15, 2014, the trouble is with labor and two employees have initiated a lawsuit to the tune of $5 million.
Who is behind this lawsuit against beer’s largest manufacturer? The plaintiffs in the case are employees Charles Hill and Joe Correa, two guys who drive trucks for Anheuser- Busch and keep the beer flowing to retailers. The two men claim that A-B failed to pay them for overtime hours worked and did not permit breaks for lunch and rest.
Hill and Correa are longtime Anheuser- Busch employees and each claims to have worked over 40 hours in a week numerous times without receiving the customary 1.5 times regular pay. They also claim they have been denied breaks in spite of the company’s clearly written policy that allows lunch and rest breaks throughout the work day.
As the two drivers explain, they are paid a flat daily rate plus an additional 10 cents per case of beverages they deliver. According to the lawsuit the men filed in a California federal court, Anheuser- Busch “used the piece- rate payment structure specifically to eliminate any payments due for rest breaks.” What this means is that, according to the allegations, Anheuser- Busch deliberately created this system as a means to discourage breaks since workers are going to be paid based on the number of cases delivered.
“As such, it was impossible to take a break and be paid for the time”, the lawsuit argues.
A spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch said that A-B had not been served with the lawsuit, at least not yet. “We are very familiar with the requirements of wage and hour laws, and take all necessary steps to ensure we are in compliance. We care about the well-being of our employees and take these allegations seriously,” the spokesperson said.
The lawsuit was filed as a class action against Anheuser- Busch and encompasses more than just the two men who filed the suit. Anyone who drives a truck for Anheuser- Busch currently or within the past four years could become part of the legal proceedings and could therefore be entitled to damages.