Cortes Olazagasti v. Walgreen Co.

COMPLAINT Original Collective and Class Action Complaint filed by Leyla Marie Cortes Olazagasti; Jury Demand. Filing fee $ 400, receipt number 0752-17085715.

Northern District of Illinois, ilnd-1:2020-cv-03338

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Case: 1:20-cv-03338 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/05/20 Page 1 of 16 PageID #:1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS CHICAGO DIVISION LEYLA MARIE CORTES OLAZAGASTI, Case No. _1:20-cv-03338_____ Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, JURY TRIAL DEMANDED v. COLLECTIVE ACTION PURSUANT WALGREEN CO. TO 29 U.S.C. § 216(B) Defendant. CLASS ACTION PURSUANT TO FED. R. CIV. P. 23 ORIGINAL COLLECTIVE AND CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT Plaintiff Leyla Marie Cortes Olazagasti ("Olazagasti") brings this action individually and on behalf of all current and former non-exempt call-center employees (hereinafter "Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members") who worked for Walgreen Co. (hereinafter "Defendant" or "Walgreens"), at any time during the relevant statutes of limitation through the final disposition of this matter, to recover compensation, liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to the provisions of Sections 206, 207 and 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended 29 U.S.C. §§ 201–19, and Florida common law. Plaintiff's FLSA claims are asserted as a collective action under Section 216(b) of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), while her Florida common-law claims are asserted as a class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 ("Rule 23"). The following allegations are based on personal knowledge as to Plaintiff's own conduct and are made on information and belief as to the acts of others. Original Collective/Class Action Complaint Page 1 Case: 1:20-cv-03338 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/05/20 Page 2 of 16 PageID #:2 I. OVERVIEW 1. This is a collective action to recover overtime wages and liquidated damages brought pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201–19, and a Rule 23 class action pursuant to the laws of the State of Florida to recover unpaid wages, overtime wages, and other applicable penalties. 2. Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members are those similarly situated persons who have worked for Walgreens in call centers throughout the United States at any time during the relevant statutes of limitation through the final disposition of this matter and have not been paid for all hours worked or the proper amount of overtime in violation of state and federal law. 3. Specifically, Walgreens has enforced a uniform company-wide policy wherein it improperly required its non-exempt hourly call-center employees—Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members—to perform work off-the-clock and without pay. 4. Walgreens's illegal company-wide policy has caused Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members to have hours worked that were not compensated and further created a miscalculation of their regular rate(s) of pay for purposes of calculating their overtime compensation each workweek. 5. Although Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members routinely worked in excess of forty (40) hours per workweek, Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members were not paid overtime of at least one and one-half their regular rates for all hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours per workweek. 6. Walgreens knowingly and deliberately failed to compensate Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members for all hours worked and the proper amount of overtime each workweek on a routine and regular basis during the relevant time period. 7. Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members did not and currently do not perform work that meets the definition of exempt work under the FLSA or Florida law. Original Collective/Class Action Complaint Page 2 Case: 1:20-cv-03338 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/05/20 Page 3 of 16 PageID #:3 8. Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members seek to recover all unpaid overtime, liquidated damages, and other damages owed under the FLSA as a collective action pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), and to recover all damages owed under their Florida state-law claim as a Rule 23 class action. 9. Plaintiff prays that all similarly situated workers (Putative Class Members) be notified of the pendency of this action to apprise them of their rights and provide them an opportunity to opt- in to this lawsuit. 10. Plaintiff also prays that the Rule 23 class is certified as defined herein, and that Plaintiff Olazagasti designated herein be named as the Class Representative for the Florida Common-Law Class. II. THE PARTIES 11. Plaintiff Leyla Marie Cortes Olazagasti ("Olazagasti") was employed by Walgreens during the relevant time period. Plaintiff Olazagasti did not receive compensation for all hours worked or the correct amount of overtime compensation for all hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours per workweek. 1 12. The FLSA Collective Members are those current and former non-exempt call-center employees who were employed by Walgreens anywhere in the United States at any time from June 5, 2017 through the final disposition of this matter, and have been subjected to the same illegal pay system under which Plaintiff Olazagasti worked and was paid. 13. The Florida Common-Law Class Members are those current and former non-exempt call-center employees who were employed by Walgreens in the State of Florida at any time from June 1 The written consent of Leyla Marie Cortes Olazagasti is hereby attached as Exhibit "A." Original Collective/Class Action Complaint Page 3 Case: 1:20-cv-03338 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/05/20 Page 4 of 16 PageID #:4 5, 2016 through the final disposition of this matter, and have been subjected to the same illegal pay system under which Plaintiff Olazagasti worked and was paid. 14. Defendant Walgreen Co. ("Walgreens") is an Illinois For-Profit Corporation licensed to and doing business in the State of Illinois and may be served with process through its registered agent for service of process: Illinois Corporation Service C, 801 Adlai Stevenson Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62703. III. JURISDICTION & VENUE 15. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 as this is an action arising under 29 U.S.C. §§ 201–19. 16. This Court has supplemental jurisdiction over the additional Florida state-law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. 17. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Walgreens because the cause of action arose within this District as a result of Walgreens's conduct within this District and Division. 18. Venue is proper in the Northern District of Illinois because this is a judicial district where a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred. 19. Specifically, Walgreens's corporate headquarters are located in Deerfield, Illinois, which is located in this District and Division. 20. Venue is therefore proper in this District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). IV. ADDITIONAL FACTS 21. Walgreens, Inc. is one of the largest pharmaceutical corporations in the world, and operates more than 9,000 drugstores throughout the United States. 2 2 https://news.walgreens.com/fact-sheets/frequently-asked-questions.htm. Original Collective/Class Action Complaint Page 4 Case: 1:20-cv-03338 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/05/20 Page 5 of 16 PageID #:5 22. To assist its customers and fulfill their orders, Walgreens employs thousands of hourly call-center employees––Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members––who assist Walgreens customers and clients. The Plaintiff and Putative Class Members work for Walgreens both remotely as at-home employees and at call centers owned and operated by Walgreens. 23. Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members' job duties consisted of answering phone calls made by Walgreens's customers, answering customer/client inquiries, fulfilling orders, accepting payments, and generally assisting customers/clients. 24. Plaintiff Olazagasti has been employed by Walgreens in customer service in Orlando, Florida since approximately November 2019. 25. Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members are non-exempt call-center employees who were (and are) paid by the hour. 26. Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members typically worked approximately forty (40) "on-the-clock" hours per week. 27. In addition to their forty (40) "on-the-clock" hours, Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members worked up to four (4) hours "off-the-clock" per week and have not been compensated for that time. 28. Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members have not been compensated for all the hours they worked for Walgreens as a result of Walgreens's corporate policy and practice of requiring their hourly call-center employees to clock-in only when ready to take their first call. 29. Specifically, Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members are required to start and log-in to their computer, open and initiate multiple different Walgreens computer programs, log in to each Walgreens program, and ensure that each Walgreens program is running correctly—all of which can take up to twenty minutes—before they are allowed to clock in on the time keeping software application and then take their first phone call. Original Collective/Class Action Complaint Page 5 Case: 1:20-cv-03338 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/05/20 Page 6 of 16 PageID #:6 30. If Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members are not ready and on the phone at shift start they can be subject to discipline. 31. If Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members clock in prior to their shift start time, they are also subject to discipline. 32. Therefore, the only way to be ready on time, and avoid discipline, is to prepare the computer "off-the-clock" and without pay. 33. During this start up time, Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members were not compensated although they were expected to have completed this process in advance of their official start times. 34. Walgreens provides Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members with one unpaid lunch break per shift. 35. However, Walgreens requires Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members to perform "off-the-clock" work during their unpaid lunch breaks. 36. Plaintiff and the Putative Class were required to stay on the clock and on call until the minute their lunch break began, clock out, then log out of the phone system or otherwise go into an aux mode, and then log off of their computer prior to leaving their desk for lunch. 37. Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members were required to log back into their computer, log back into the phone system, then clock in, and be back on the phone right at the moment their lunch break ends. 38. The log off process used prior to going to lunch can take approximately 1-3 minutes. 39. The log in process used after returning from lunch can take approximately 1-3 minutes. 40. This lengthy log off and log in procedure had to be performed during Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members' lunch break, as per Walgreens policy. Original Collective/Class Action Complaint Page 6 Case: 1:20-cv-03338 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/05/20 Page 7 of 16 PageID #:7 41. Further, Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members' computers crashed multiple times each week and required Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members to reset them, which took approximately ten (10) minutes or more each time. 42. Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members were also not compensated for the time they worked for Walgreens rebooting Walgreens' computers after they crashed. 43. In addition, Walgreens also enforced a uniform company-wide policy wherein they improperly required their non-exempt hourly employees—Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members— to clock out for rest breaks lasting twenty minutes or less. 29 C.F.R. § 785.18; see also Sec'y U.S. Dep't of Labor v. Am. Future Sys., Inc., 873 F.3d 420, 425 (3d Cir. 2017). 44. Walgreens permitted Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members to take two fifteen- minute breaks each day but required them to clock out for any and all breaks taken outside the two fifteen-minute breaks. 45. As a result of Walgreens' corporate policy and practice of requiring Plaintiff and the Putative Class Members to perform their computer start up tasks before the beginnin