Large California Grocery Chain Sued for Unpaid Overtime

Wage and Hout Training


On September 24, 2015, a group of California employees filed a wage and hour lawsuit against grocery giant Vons in Santa Barbara County. The lawsuit seeks $4 million in damages and alleges that the grocery chain did not pay required overtime compensation. The suit also claims Vons required its employees to work through meal periods over a four-year period and alleges that Vons destroyed and falsified time records to eliminate overtime hours and show that employees had taken their meal breaks when they allegedly had not.

Lawsuit Yet Another Example of California Employers in Hot Water

California wage and hour law is the most complicated in the country. If you or your company have employees working in that state it is imperative that you seek advice and training to ensure that your managers and payroll administrators understand the laws and their nuances and are doing everything they can to comply with California’s complex overtime, meal and rest, and recordkeeping requirements (among others).

As the Vons lawsuit shows, repeated violations over a period of time can go unnoticed and can add up to a significant amount of damages. Worse yet, California law allows for plaintiffs’ attorneys to recover fees on behalf of their clients in the event they successfully pursue a claim. Therefore, in addition to the potential $4 million in damages Vons could be liable for if they are found to have violated California law, there could be hundreds of thousands of dollars more in attorneys fees that the company may have to pay. Don’t let this happen to your business.

Syntrio Has Developed Cost-Effective Training Programs for Your Business

Syntrio has recently released two new courses specifically designed to aid California managers and supervisors in complying with California Wage and Hour law. The first, “Wage and Hour Basics for California Managers” is designed for California managers who supervise employees subject to California state minimum wage, overtime, and meal and rest break laws. The shorter second course is entitled, “Meal and Rest Break Training” and goes into greater detail about the nuances of this complicated area of California law that is one of the bases of the lawsuit discussed above. We recommend your managers and supervisors participate in both courses to have the fundamentals necessary to comply with the law.

Syntrio is committed to helping employers avoid the costly mistakes (and associate litigation) that are associated with complicated areas of employment law. We are also able to custom-tailor our courses to fit the needs of your business. Contact for more information about our wage and hour courses for management and remember to follow on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on compliance issues that may impact your business!


Fight Back Against Workplace Bullying: It May Soon Be a Legal Obligation

You may be unaware that California has recently enacted a law entitled Assembly Bill 2053, requiring employers with 50 or more employees to train their supervisors on workplace bullying. Although this law does not create an outright cause of action for employees who have been the victims of an office bully, it is a step in that direction. As is often the trend, other states have picked up on California’s aggressive stance toward bullying and have begun considering similar legislation to curb the all too common practice of abusive conduct by supervisors and co-workers.

For many years, employers have educated themselves (and their employees) about the various harassment and discrimination laws at both the state and federal levels. However, only recently have studies shown that office bullying and abusive conduct are occurring at extremely high levels. That said, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is silent with respect to abusive managerial tactics and office bullying, and ignores the fact that this sort of behavior can be as damaging (if not more damaging) than the types of conduct the law prohibits (such as race and sex discrimination and harassment).

Bullying Creates a High Cost

You may be wondering what impact office bullying has on your workplace, especially given that it is likely not against the law at this time. Therefore, you may also be wondering why it might be worth the time and expense to conduct training courses to prevent this type of conduct when such courses may not be required by your state. The simple answer is 30-35% of United States employees report that they have been victims or witnesses of abusive workplace conduct. This amounts to millions of employees who may lose productivity or even seek to change jobs to avoid a bully that creates a hostile environment. This type of turnover is costly to a business. Therefore, conducting proactive training to avoid this type of conduct can have a positive impact on your bottom line.

What Types of Conduct Can be Considered Abusive?

California’s new law spells out a specific definition of abusive workplace conduct, but generally speaking any sorts of swear words and raised voices; belittling of employees; physical actions such as thrown paper; offensive or humiliating conduct; or attempts at sabotage of work (among other things) should be considered particularly risky behavior if they occur frequently at your office.

Syntrio’s Preventing Workplace Bullying training courses are specifically tailored to meet the needs of your business or industry, and cost-effectively train your managers and employees on what abusive conduct and bullying is, and how to spot and eliminate it before there is a problem. Syntrio’s workplace harassment training courses also cover workplace bullying

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses of all sizes eliminate abusive conduct and workplace bullying across the board, and therefore provides harassment in the workplace courses that are cognizant of the value of time to modern businesses.  Contact for more information about ourHR compliance courses and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your company!


Data Protection Training: Don’t “Cheat” Your Employees

The past few weeks have revealed an avalanche of information stemming from the data hack of infidelity website During the information release the public learned the names and email addresses of celebrities and private persons suspected of using Ashley Madison’s site to seek partners for extramarital affairs. There is a large debate as to the propriety of the information release, given that the behavior encouraged was morally suspicious (to say the least). Nevertheless, the Ashley Madison hack raises further questions about the need for protecting customer and employee data in the business world. Indeed, this critical element of office safety is something many employees and managers know little about, and can derive great benefits from participating in online data protection training.

How Frequently do Data Hacks Occur?

The advent of the technological revolution in the past 25 years has brought significantly greater risks of exposure in the workplace. Indeed, cyber criminals are seeking to infiltrate company data on a much greater scale. Take for example the customer data hack that occurred at Target. By failing to properly encrypt data, Target released the personal and credit card information of millions of customers (paying a substantial public relations hit in the process). Add to that Sony’s PlayStation Network and others, and you see how high profile hacks are becoming a near-weekly occurrence. For this reason it is extremely important to train your managers and employees on data protection in an effort to A) prevent attacks (to the greatest extent possible); and B) maintain the ability to honestly state you have done everything possible to prevent an attack in the event one occurs.

How do Data Hacks Happen?

Hackers have highly sophisticated methods of “phishing” for data and infiltrating the advanced systems business use to store consumer and employee data. Essentially these hacks become a game for the hackers, with their endgame either being financial game or simply public notoriety (even though they like to remain anonymous). According to a recent study, 81% of large corporations and 60% of small businesses reported a cyber attack in 2014. Regardless of the exact method used to hack into the data, it is increasingly important to do all that you can to protect your business from an attack occurring and know what to do in the event one does occur.

Data Protection Training is at the Cutting Edge

Syntrio’s Data Protection courses review the relevant laws associated with cyber security and use real-life and hypothetical scenarios to show our clients the ways attacks happen, and how to prevent them. Indeed, Syntrio offers a full range of industry-specific courses addressing privacy and cyber-security laws. Our courses teach the best practices for addressing the legal and ethical aspects of data protection for your employees and managers.

Syntrio is committed to helping companies of all sizes maintain the highest possible data protection standards, and is willing to custom tailor a course to meet the needs of your company.  Contact for more information about our online data protection courses and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your organization!