WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Class-action lawsuits were filed today
in state courts in New York, NY and San Jose, CA, charging Labor Ready, Inc.
(NYSE: LRW), one of the nation's largest temporary employment agencies, with
illegally siphoning money from workers' pay. The lawsuits allege that Labor
Ready's practice of charging employees an average of $1.50 to withdraw their
daily pay from the company's cash dispensing machines -- which nationwide in
1999 generated $7.7 million in revenue for the company -- violates state law
in New York and California. The lawsuits seek back pay awards for all current
and former employees who used the cash machines.
"People should be paid fair wages for a fair day's work," said Eugene
Tonissen, one of the plaintiffs of the New York suit. "Who can raise a family
on $53 a day? What they're doing is wrong."
The cash dispensing machines were installed by Labor Ready to pay workers
in cash at the end of each workday. The machine charges workers a fee of
$1.00 and rounds down any change in their wages to the lowest dollar amount,
costing workers up to an additional 99 cents per day. In New York and
California, discounting a person's pay is illegal. If Labor Ready is found to
have violated the law, the company will have to pay workers their lost wages.
Similar laws in other states have opened the possibility of more lawsuits.
A suit filed against Labor Ready's wage deduction policies in Atlanta, GA in
July 2000 was amended last month to include additional charges. The
amendments allege that Labor Ready charged workers rental fees for equipment
used to perform their work assignments in violation of Georgia law. The suit
also claims that Labor Ready illegally charges transportation fees to workers
for shuttling them from the Labor Ready office to their work sites. In
addition, the Georgia suit says that Labor Ready fails to obtain consent from
its employees before they are sent to work sites that potentially expose them
to hazardous chemicals.
Labor Ready, which has attracted employees with its "Work Today, Paid
Today" slogan, is one of the largest and fastest growing temporary employment
agencies in the country. It operates 839 offices in 49 states, Puerto Rico,
Canada, and the United Kingdom. Labor Ready is a leader in the national trend
away from full-time, permanent jobs towards part-time, temporary, and contract
staffing strategies. Today nearly three in ten working Americans are employed
in contingent or non-standard employment.
The "Temp Workers Deserve a Permanent Voice @ Work" campaign was launched
in April by building and construction trades unions in an effort to shed light
on the employment practices of temporary work agencies in the construction
SOURCE Building and Construction Trades Department