Taco Bell Found Guilty Of Violating Wage And Hour Laws

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Portland, Oregon-Thousands of Oregon workers won a major court battle as a Circuit Court jury found that Taco Bell willfully violated the state's wage and hour laws.

As a result of the verdict, Taco Bell will be required to pay back wages for violations that include working off the clock and failure to provide breaks as required by law, according to attorneys for Seattle law firm Schroeter Goldmark & Bender who represented the workers.

According to court documents, more than 60 witnesses gave first-hand testimony during the seven-week trial about illegal practices conducted at corporate-owned Taco Bells located throughout Oregon. Former managers testified about company practices they were instructed to carry out, including requiring employees to work without pay, shaving time off employees' time cards, shifting hours worked to the next week's card to avoid paying overtime, and inserting break periods that were not taken onto the time cards. One manager told of routinely shaving five to 10 minutes off employees' time cards, an amount of time not likely to be noticed by employees, yet saving Taco Bell several hours in payroll each time period. Others testified of routinely erasing overtime from employee time records without the knowledge of the employee.

"Taco Bell was found guilty of systematically engaging in the illegal alteration of pay records," said Paul Breed, one of several attorneys who represented the workers. "Taco Bell took time and wages from their workers without their knowledge."

The amount of damages and how the damages will be awarded is yet to be determined. The verdict applies only to corporate-owned Taco Bell locations. Employees who worked for a corporate-owned Taco Bell during and after 1993 could be eligible for monetary damages. -Business Wire