San Diego

City Trash Worker Wins Labor Rights Lawsuit Against San Diego

The class-action lawsuit involved about 220 trash truck drivers in the City's Environmental Services Department who claimed the city failed to pay overtime wages or meal breaks to employees from May 2011 to present

The city has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by a San Diego trash collector. The suit alleged missed meal breaks, unpaid overtime and doctored time cards that he said falsely made it appear like the city was providing adequate breaks.

The proposed settlement, announced Thursday, is in the amount of $500,000 and will be divided among the plaintiffs, all city trash workers. It still must be approved by a judge.

A May 23, 2014, complaint against the city alleges the city violated the labor rights of trash collector Thomas Perez and his coworkers.

The case, which involves about 220 trash truck drivers in the City’s Environmental Services Department, claims the city failed to pay overtime wages or meal breaks to employees working more than five hours and additional meal periods for employees working in excess of 10 hours from May 2011 to present.

The lawsuit also claimed the city doctored time cards to make it appear like the meal periods were taken. One of the issues, as stated in the lawsuit, is that trash collectors are responsible for their trash trucks and are required to stay on their collection routes during lunch.

The city does not admit fault in the settlement agreement.

The San Diego City Council is scheduled to approve the tentative agreement Thursday.

An attorney for the plaintiffs said he could not comment until the deal was finalized.

A spokesman for the City Attorney's office said this about the suit:

"The City disputes liability. Nevertheless the parties accepted a mediator’s proposal to settle for $500,000, inclusive of attorney fees and payments to drivers, to resolve the matter," said Gerry Braun from the City Attorney's office.

"In settling the City admits no wrongdoing; rather, the settlement avoids further risk and exposure to taxpayers."

Contact Us