Trader Joe’s settles with City of Seattle after labor laws violated

Dec 5, 2022, 3:10 PM | Updated: Dec 6, 2022, 8:38 am
Trader Joe's...
OLS alleged Trader Joe’s, which operates five stores and employs several hundred employees in Seattle, paid employees one and one-half times the base rate of pay in addition to $4 hazard pay per each overtime hour worked. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In a settlement with the City of Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS), the Trader Joe’s Company must pay $55,009.51 for violations of Seattle labor laws.

Trader Joe’s agreed to a settlement under the Grocery Employee Hazard Pay (GEHP) and Wage Theft Ordinances, where they were found to have violated labor laws for not paying 95 employees who did not properly receive hazard pay or extra pay for working overtime.

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OLS alleged Trader Joe’s, which operates five stores and employs several hundred employees in Seattle, paid employees one and one-half times the base rate of pay in addition to $4 hazard pay per each overtime hour worked.

This is the second settlement Trader Joe’s has had to pay the City of Seattle within the past seven months when they allegedly failed to post work schedules with two weeks’ notice between May and October at the company’s University District store.

In that case, Trader Joe’s agreed to a settlement and paid $44,528.22 to 129 employees and $575.31 to the city to resolve claims and fines under Seattle’s Secure Scheduling ordinance.

“The Grocery Employee Hazard Pay ordinance, along with other emergency ordinances, created during the pandemic to protect and provide much-needed relief for front-line workers, are phasing out, but certain requirements of the GEHP ordinance still apply for up to three years. OLS will continue to help any worker who believes their rights may have been violated under this ordinance. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help,” said OLS Director Steven Marchese.

The GEHP law went into effect on Feb. 3, 2021.

As of Sept. 2, 2022, covered employers are no longer required to pay the increased hazard pay rate. On Aug. 3, 2022, the Seattle City Council voted to suspend the requirement for certain grocery businesses.

“After giving Trader Joe’s several internal opportunities to make this right, they chose not to. For a second time the OLS has stepped up and helped us find the solutions to the wrongs Trader Joe’s has made toward schedule ordinances and wage theft of mandated hazard pay,” said two current Trader Joe’s Company employees. “We want people to know what corporations are capable of doing and that the OLS can be trusted to support workers when they have exhausted all means within the management/corporate structure to find solutions.”

To learn more about Seattle’s labor standards, click here.

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Trader Joe’s settles with City of Seattle after labor laws violated