Costco employees want their overtime pay

Costco employees suing to recoup overtime pay received a significant boost to their case when a federal judge ruled that the company had not acted in the best interest of the employees. Now, the case will go on as a state class-action, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The original claim was made in 2009 after Costco employees in California chain-locked staff in the warehouse while managers completed their duties on the store floor, including processing cash, the story details.

The lawsuit claims that the employees were not paid for the time they spent - an average of 10-30 minutes in the warehouse, which was beyond their eight-hour shift - and thus the managers' actions violated California overtime employment law.

"Costco managers do a lot of administrative duties at the end of the day," said an attorney for the plaintiffs. "The rationale for locking the workers in while the managers finish up administrative duties is to secure the building and keep people safe. That is a fine justification, but if you do it, you have to pay the workers."

In December, lawyers filed suit against drug maker Merck on behalf of a group of California-based outside sales representatives. This incident is a tougher gauge of the law, as outside sales representatives are exempt from overtime pay unless they spend more than 50 percent of their working hours outside of the home or office.

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