Should getting dressed in company clothes be done on company
time? That question is the foundation of a class-action complaint against
Turano Baking Co.
Former Turano employee Francisco Miranda, of Joliet, filed
the complaint Nov. 11 in federal court in Chicago, alleging the bakery violated
the Illinois Minimum Wage Law and federal Fair Labor Standards Act. He said it
took him 15 minutes to dress in his work uniform — obtained from the
company at his workplace — but was not allowed to punch in until the start of
his assigned shift.
Miranda worked as a mixer in Turano’s Berwyn production
facility from March 11, 2014, through Oct. 21, 2016, and said he worked between
48-60 hours a week, five or six days each week, from Tuesday through Saturday
or Monday through Saturday. In his first year, he worked both second- and
third-shift rotations; in the second year he settled into the third shift,
which ran from 9 p.m. through 5:30 a.m. When Miranda was required to work
overtime, the shift began at 5 p.m.
The uniform “included white pants, white shirt, slip
resistant shoes and a hairnet,” all donned in a company locker room. Miranda
said all production floor employees had to follow the same policy, and had to
remove certain work clothes at the end of each shift after punching out,
another 15-minute process.
Yet, he said the company refused to pay him for the time
spent dressing for the shift.
Miranda said the class could include between 200 and 500
current and former Turano employees, and noted current employees “may be
reluctant to raise individual claims for fear of retaliation.”
The FLSA count said Turano, in failing to pay for the half
hour each work day — time that would have qualified for overtime pay — “either
(knew) that its conduct violated the FLSA or showed reckless disregard for
whether its actions complied.”
Miranda seeks back pay for the prior three years, liquidated
damages equal to the amount of unpaid overtime, interest and legal fees, as
well as an injunction precluding Turano from future FLSA violations.
The state minimum wage law claim is functionally identical, along
with a request for statutory damages. In addition to class certification,
Miranda also requests a jury trial.
Representing Miranda, and putative class attorneys, is the
Chicago firm of Caffarelli & Associates.
The lawsuit vs Turano marks the second potentially large
federal action brought against one of the Chicago area’s major bakers in recent
In October, a group of African American laborers sued Northbrook-based
Highland Baking Co. and a staffing agency the company uses, identified as Quality
Labor Services LLC, of Gurnee, saying the bakery and staffing agency discriminated
against African American bakery workers by preferring to hire Hispanic workers.
The named plaintiffs in that case, identified as Derell
Pruitt and Plaz Hall Murdock-Alexander Jr., and represented by attorneys
Christopher J. Williams and Alvar Ayala, of the Workers’ Law Office, of Chicago,
alleged the bakery’s hiring preferences produced a negative disparate impact on
the employment prospects of low- to moderately-skilled African American
laborers in the region.
They requested the court allow the case to proceed as a
class action, to include any eligible and qualified African American laborers
who had sought work through QLS since October 2012.