Costco Workers Seeking Overtime Pay Face Uphill Battle

More than 30,000 Costco workers are hoping for a reversal of a federal court’s denial of class certification in an overtime lawsuit. The workers allege that during forced lockdown procedures they were locked inside the store at the end of their shifts and not paid overtime. In their brief to the Ninth Circuit, the workers argued that the federal judge had erred in considering manageability of the claims “to the exclusion of other factors.” The judge felt that there was no classwide method for determining whether, how often, and for how long class members worked off-the-clock with no overtime pay. In addition, the judge focused on the fact that some stores did not implement the lockdown procedure all the time, holding that common questions did not predominate. In their brief, plaintiffs reject this reasoning stating: 

“The fact that a ‘company wide, uniformly enforced policy’ may not have been unanimously followed at all times does not warrant decertification [and] courts consistently hold that some variation in implementing a policy does not defeat class certification”

Plaintiffs also argued that the judge’s reasoning is “contradicted by black letter law” and argued that the question at issue should be whether the class “systematically suffered unpaid hours,” according to the brief.

The case is Eric Stiller and Joseph Moro et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., case number 15-55361, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

For more information about overtime claims contact Costa Mesa employment attorneys at Ford & Diulio PC at 714-384-5540 or email Jessica Diulio at