November 27, 2022
(EVERGREEN, Colo.) – A former employee of Walmart has filed a class action lawsuit against the company for unpaid labor during COVID-19 screenings.
The lead plaintiff, Teresa Chateaunuef, alleges the company violated numerous labor laws due to the lack of compensation given for COVID-19 health screening mandated before employees started their shifts. At the time of her employment in 2020, she and other employees in the class action came in early, waited in line, answered questions and had their temperature checked before clocking in. Chateaunuef argues that this went beyond her 40-hour compensated week. Chateaunuef alleges that roughly 10,000 employees were given the same mandatory procedures throughout Colorado and that the class damages for thousands of employees stand at more than 5 million dollars.
Walmart denies illegal practices and says employees received an additional five dollars a day to compensate for the added time. The suit does not state how long these health screenings took.
Walmart has strict policies tracking paid hours, using a demerit point system that punishes employees for clocking in too early or late. The accumulation of points can result in termination. The lawsuit alleges that Walmart’s careful system of managing employee hours is to avoid paying overtime to employees.
The suit alleges that under Colorado law, any act done to the benefit of the employer is time served and paid for, including time receiving or sharing work-related information and security or safety screening. Chateaunuef says this includes health screenings, which allowed Walmart stores to stay open during the height of the pandemic.
The Click reached out to Walmart’s attorneys for comment but did not hear back. The case is ongoing.