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 weeks. 

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.

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Caffarelli & Associates Ltd. Workers' Law Office PC

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