Taco Bell Found Guilty Of Violating Wage And Hour Laws <b></b>

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

As a result of the verdict, Taco Bell will be required to payback wages for violations that include working off the clock andfailure to provide breaks as required by law, according toattorneys for Seattle law firm Schroeter Goldmark & Bender whorepresented the workers.

According to court documents, more than 60 witnesses gavefirst-hand testimony during the seven-week trial about illegalpractices conducted at corporate-owned Taco Bells locatedthroughout Oregon. Former managers testified about companypractices they were instructed to carry out, including requiringemployees to work without pay, shaving time off employees' timecards, shifting hours worked to the next week's card to avoidpaying overtime, and inserting break periods that were not takenonto the time cards. One manager told of routinely shaving five to10 minutes off employees' time cards, an amount of time notlikely to be noticed by employees, yet saving Taco Bell severalhours in payroll each time period. Others testified of routinelyerasing overtime from employee time records without the knowledgeof the employee.

"Taco Bell was found guilty of systematically engaging inthe illegal alteration of pay records," said Paul Breed, oneof several attorneys who represented the workers. "Taco Belltook time and wages from their workers without theirknowledge."

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

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