Walmart Faces Class Claims Over Lost Wages During Mandatory COVID-19 Testing

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


On February 23, 2021, class claims were filed in federal court in the Eastern District of California Fresno Division, against retail giant Walmart Inc. alleging that the defendant implemented an illegal policy requiring its non-exempt workers to undergo COVID-19 screenings prior to each shift without pay.

In the complaint, named plaintiffs Amado Haro and Rochelle Ortega describe how at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Walmart implemented a company-wide policy requiring each of its hourly, non-exempt employees to undergo a physical and medical examination to check for COVID-19 symptoms before clocking into work and beginning their shift. The plaintiffs allege that these examinations took place on Walmart premises and that Walmart’s refusal to allow employees to clock into their shift before the mandatory COVID-19 screening violated both California law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). To comply with the COVID-19 screenings, plaintiffs argue, employees were required to arrive at work one-half hour before the formal start to their paid shifts.

The plaintiffs are seeking to represent a class made up of all current and former hourly employees of Walmart who underwent a COVID-19 screening during at least one week in the four-week period prior to the filing of the complaint to the present. The suit brings causes of action for violation of California Labor Code for Failure to Pay for All Hours Worked, Failure to Pay Overtime, Failure to Furnish Wage Statements, Failure to Pay All Wages Upon Separation from Employment, Unlawful and/or Unfair Competition Law violations and failure to pay overtime.

The case is: Haro et al v. Walmart Inc., Case No.: 1:21-cv-00239, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

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