A Forever 21 store in Los Angeles. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)
Cheap-chic retailer Forever 21 is being sued in a class-action lawsuit by employees who claim that the company routinely neglected to pay for time worked.
In filings in San Francisco Superior Court, five employees allege that the Los Angeles clothing maker often made them work through meal breaks and kept them in the stores after clocking out to check their bags for stolen merchandise, the Huffington Post reported.
Tiffinee Linthicum, Jessica Ramos, Shanelle Thompson, Jazzreal Jones and Alyssa Elias are seeking damages for the hours they worked during breaks and off the clock, the Post said.
Linthicum, who began working for the company at age 16, said in court filings that she has worked at two Forever 21 locations -- one in Valencia, the other in Palmdale -- since 2008. In both stores, she routinely clocked out before her bag was searched and was never paid for that time.
Patrick Kitchin, an attorney representing some of the workers, told the Post that his team was contacting other Forever 21 employees and believed the practice to be "very widespread."
"We've spoken to individuals from a number of stores across California and all report the same thing," Kitchin said.
"Sales associates at Forever 21 stores are often still in high school and under the age of 18 when they begin their employment," Geoffrey Norton, an attorney for one of the employees, wrote in a statement. "These young people are vulnerable and often do not understand their employment rights. This lawsuit is meant to give these young people a voice about how they were treated while employed by Forever 21 in California."
The damages could cumulatively amount to millions if large numbers of workers at Forever 21 suffered the same alleged problems.