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Trader Joe’s agrees to pay more than $55K to 95 Seattle workers

KIRO Seattle 12/5/2022 Colleen West

In what is the second settlement within seven months, Trader Joe’s will pay more than $55,000 in payments to 95 employees who worked overtime in Seattle.

Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards alleged that Trader Joe’s did not include hazard pay when determining an employee’s regular pay rate for the purposes of overtime — as required — between Feb. 3, 2021, and Sept. 2, 2022.

Employees were instead paid 1.5 times the base pay rate in addition to $4 hazard pay per each overtime hour worked, OLS alleged.

The first OLS inquiry into possible labor standard violations by the grocer was made at store #137 in the University District.

In that case, Trader Joe’s agreed to a settlement and paid $44,528.22 to 129 employees and $575.31 to the city to resolve claims and fines under Seattle’s Secure Scheduling ordinance.

Trader Joe’s has five stores and several hundred employees in Seattle and more than 500 stores and more than 50,000 employees nationwide.

“The Grocery Employee Hazard Pay ordinance, along with other emergency ordinances, created during the pandemic to protect and provide much-needed relief for front-line workers are phasing out, but certain requirements of the GEHP ordinance still apply for up to three years. OLS will continue to help any worker who believes their rights may have been violated under this ordinance. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help,” said OLS Director Steven Marchese.

The GEHP law went into effect on Feb. 3, 2021.

As of Sept. 2, 2022, covered employers are longer required to pay the increased hazard pay rate. On Aug. 3, 2022, the Seattle City Council voted to suspend the requirement for certain grocery businesses.

To learn more about Seattle’s labor standards, click here or visit the OLS webpage at http://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards.

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