Class-action complaint brought against Berkeley Bowl by former employee

Isabella Ko/Staff

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A former Berkeley Bowl employee brought a class-action complaint against the grocery chain April 10 over its alleged failure to properly provide overtime pay.

The former employee and plaintiff, Spencer Sumisaki, claimed that Berkeley Bowl is in violation of multiple articles of the California Labor Code and California Business and Professions Code. Sumisaki is suing Berkeley Bowl on behalf of his colleagues, whose interests he pledges to “fairly and adequately protect,” according to the suit. Sumisaki estimated that more than 50 individuals are in his situation.

The general allegations include alleged failure to compensate hourly-paid or nonexempt employees. Such employees are entitled to overtime pay and minimum wage for “all hours worked and missed meal periods and/or rest breaks,” according to the court documents.

Sumisaki went as far so as to claim that the defendant knowingly engaged in “wage abuse” and kept incomplete or inaccurate payroll records. Berkeley Bowl also allegedly failed to reimburse employees for work-related expenses and costs and did not compensate Sumisaki and other class members in order to increase its own profits, according to the lawsuit.

Sumisaki is represented by Edwin Aiwazian, the founder of Lawyers for Justice, a Glendale-based law firm. Lawyers for Justice represents clients “in class action lawsuits involving all types of employment and labor law issues, unfair business practices, mass torts and other related litigation,” according to its website. The law firm has experience with cases over the labor code violations that Berkeley Bowl is being sued over.

As part of the demands, Sumisaki has asked the court to award him and the other class members their standard hourly pay for each workday where pay was not provided during meal and rest periods. In addition, he has asked for compensation for damages and losses, in line with the California Labor Code and California Business and Professions Code.

The first hearing will be held May 22 in Oakland.

Neither Sumisaki nor Berkeley Bowl responded for comment as of press time.

Contact Marlena Tavernier-Fine at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @MarlenaTF_DC.