Labor Law Violations in the Cannabis Industry
Ten states and Washington D.C. have legalized cannabis and the industry is flourishing. According to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry in the United States. Cannabis companies are making record profits as customers line up to buy marijuana legally for the first time.
These profits are made on the backs of hard work by cannabis industry employees, but sadly, these employees are not always treated fairly. There have been many cases of cannabis companies exploiting their employees by failing to pay overtime wages or minimum wage, denying them rest and meal breaks, and other employment law violations.
If you work in the cannabis industry and believe you have been treated unfairly by your employer, you may be able to recover back wages, unpaid overtime, and additional financial compensation in a lawsuit against your employer.
Lawsuits Against Cannabis Companies For Labor Violations
Several employees from multiple cannabis companies have filed lawsuits against their employers for allegedly committing labor law violations that have hurt employees.
Loud Buddha LLC and Pura Cali Management Corp Named in Class-Action Lawsuit, Accused of Violating Workers’ Rights
A group of California cannabis workers joined together in a class-action lawsuit against Loud Buddha LLC and Pura Cali Management Corp for alleged violations of California fair labor laws.
The plaintiffs have accused these two cannabis companies of several violations, including the following allegations:
- Employees were forced to work 12 hours per day and seven days per week.
- Workers were paid a flat $15 hourly rate in cash and overtime pay was not calculated.
- Employees were often denied their full hourly rate, were not paid on time, or were not paid at all.
- Employees were not reimbursed for work expenses like meals and travel.
- Employees were denied legally required rest and meal breaks.
- The companies inaccurately tracked work hours by hand-writing them and rounding hours down.
- Failed to comply with FLSA record-keeping requirements and denied workers of wages earned, including overtime.
- Pressured employees to stay in the mountains all day during every day they were scheduled. Employees were threatened with discipline if they refused.
California Cannabis Company MedMen Sued by Former Employees For Alleged Labor Violations
In November of 2018, former MedMen employees Chelsea Medlock and Anthony Torres filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other employees against the company for several alleged violations of California labor laws.
Violations listed in this complaint include:
- Failure to pay minimum wage
- Failure to pay overtime compensation
- Failure to pay meal period compensation
- Failure to pay rest period compensation
- Failure to furnish accurate wage and hour statements
- Failure to maintain accurate payroll records
- Failure to pay wages upon discharge
- Unfair competition
States with Legalized Marijuana
Along with California, workers in all legal marijuana states should be aware that they have the same legal rights as all other workers. If you work for the cannabis industry in one of these states and believe you have been denied earned wages, overtime pay, or have suffered other employment violations, you may have ground for legal action:
- Washington D.C.
The employee rights lawyers at Wage Advocates are available to assist employees in all of these states. If you believe your rights as a cannabis worker have been violated, contact us today to learn more about your legal options.
What Compensation is Available in Employment Lawsuits?
Determining the amount of financial compensation you can recover from your employer for an unpaid wages or overtime lawsuit against a cannabis company may vary depending on the laws in your state. An experienced employment rights lawyer can help you fully understand what damages you can recover. However, there are some general damages that can be recovered in employment lawsuits in all 50 states:
If your employer did not pay you what you were owed, you can recover those unpaid wages in a lawsuit against your employer. You’ll be awarded the amount of wages that were not paid, including any overtime that wasn’t paid. You have the right to 1.5 times your normal amount of compensation for time worked in excess of 40 hours per week. If you were paid at your normal rate for overtime hours, you can recover the difference between the normal rate you were paid and the overtime rate that you should have been paid.
You may also be entitled to interest on the unpaid wages. The amount of this interest will depend on the state you work in. In some states, a sum known as liquidated damages may be available – which is an amount of money set in advance that is awarded to employees instead of interest. Liquidated damages are often awarded in cases where an employer has willfully denied its employees the wages they are entitled to.
In many states, including California, employers must pay a penalty to their employees along with the unpaid wages these employees are owed. In California, employers are legally required to pay a waiting time penalty equal to 30 days worth of the employee’s unpaid wages.
Many workers whose rights have been violated may hesitate to take legal action against their employer due to concerns that they can’t afford a lawyer. Fortunately, attorney fees are also covered in damages for unpaid wages and overtime lawsuits. If the court rules in your favor, your employer will have to pay your lawyer’s fees and other costs associated with filing the lawsuit.
Additionally, the FSLA lawyers at Wage Advocates work on a contingency-fee-basis: meaning you owe us nothing unless we help you win a court award or settlement.