Workers at the LAX Hilton filed a purported class action lawsuit Tuesday against the hotel, alleging a pattern of violations of California wage and hour laws since at least 2004. The action is the latest salvo in the hotel's ongoing dispute with workers who have sought to unionize.
The lawsuit, filed in L.A. Country Superior Court, charges management with denying employees the meal and rest breaks required under the state Labor Code. Workers alleged they were required to note breaks on their time sheets, whether or not they actually took them, or face a reprimand.
"The workers have tried any number of actions to achieve justice before taking this step," said Randy Renick, a partner at Hadsell, Stormer, Keeny, Richardson and Renick LLP, the Pasadena law firm representing the workers. "Other hotels in the area are complying with the law."
Renick's firm has won successful settlements for workers at other airport-area hotels in the past year. In January, the owners of the Westin LAX paid current and former workers $3 million in back wages. A similar $6.5 million settlement with owners of the Radisson LAX was approved last month.
A spokesman for Fortuna Enterprises LP, the hotel's owner, said they had not yet seen the lawsuit and could not comment.
LAX Hilton owners have unsuccessfully attempted to overturn the city's "fair wage" ordinance and have been cited by state and federal regulators for personnel practices and anti-union activities.
In October, a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge issued a proposed ruling finding that the LAX Hilton management wrongfully suspended 77 workers for engaging in a protected work stoppage related to an organizing campaign. The decision will become final on Thursday unless the LAX Hilton files an appeal.
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