Former UC Berkeley employee sues UC Regents for alleged unlawful termination

Audrey Mcnamara/File

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Former UC Berkeley employee Lisa Beltran-Torres filed a lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents on Jan. 30, alleging she was not paid for overtime and was unlawfully terminated.

Beltran-Torres worked to coordinate “high-profile” campus events for 20 years until she was fired August 2017, according to the lawsuit. Her employment was without issue until she began asking about her unpaid overtime, which the lawsuit alleged led to her wrongful termination.

Non-exempt campus employees, such as Beltran-Torres, are entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked over eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. According to Beltran-Torres’ attorneys, Arthur Lazear and Morgan Mack, she worked between 18 to 20 hours of overtime per month because of the nature of her job.

“The failure of (the regents) to fully compensate (Beltran-Torres) for all wages earned and overtime work was willful, purposeful, and unlawful and done in accordance with the policies and practices of (the regents’) operations,” the lawsuit alleges.

Another allegation listed in the lawsuit was that the money owed to Beltran-Torres was used by the campus for its own benefit. Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that the campus failed to list her overtime hours on payroll records and intentionally falsified official payroll documents to hide its “unlawful payment practices.”

Campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore declined to comment at this time, and campus attorneys are currently reviewing the documents of the case.

There is no information yet on a hearing or further court proceedings, Lazear said. He added that he and Mack are currently unable to name the exact amount they are seeking in compensation, but they estimate the amount will be six figures.

“We’re trying to get Ms. Beltran-Torres the compensation she deserves,” Mack said.

Contact Amanda Yao at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @AmandaJYao.