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Class Action Suit Alleges Pattern of Unpaid Overtime, Other Labor Violations at Douglas Emmett


Posted: March 6th, 2018


Case details

Case Numbers: BC466315 BC474789 BC474960 BC478699 BC502674
Case Title: LINDSAY VS. DOUGLAS EMMETT INC WISS VS. DOUGLAS EMMETT INC VINLUAN VS. DOUGLAS EMMETT INC RODRIGUEZ VS. DOUGLAS EMMETT INC GONZALEZ VS. DOUGLAS EMMETT INC
Case Type: Class Action
Filing Date: 7/28/2011 12/07/2011 12/08/2011 2/14/2012 3/11/13
Court: Stanley Mosk Courthouse (Los Angeles County)
Status: Settled in 2014

In July 2011, Antoinette Lindsay filed suit against Douglas Emmett Inc. In her lawsuit, Lindsay alleged that Douglas Emmett had a pattern of unlawful wage and hour violations against its employees. Following the Lindsay suit, one-time Douglas Emmett employees Manny Vinluan, Jeremy Wiss, Tomasa Rodriguez and J. Antonio Gonzalez filed similar cases in LA County court.

Many of the cases were eventually rolled up into a class action lawsuit, which was eventually settled for a total of $400,000 and distributed among Douglas Emmett workers.

In the course of the court proceedings, court documents were made public. They can be read in the downloadable case filings at the end of this page.

Complaint narrative

In July 2011, Antoinette Lindsay filed suit against her employer, Douglas Emmett Inc., on behalf of both herself and Douglas Emmett’s Los Angeles workers.

In the suit, she alleges that Douglas Emmett had a pattern of unlawful wage and hour violations against its workers, including compelling unpaid overtime, not allowing workers to take legally-required breaks, and having workers work through meal periods without paying legally-required compensation. Supervisors would often compel workers to turn in time sheets showing 8-hour days and 40-hour weeks when in fact employees would often work additional hours. Workers would see no pay for these overtime hours. According to court documents, Douglas Emmett’s policy was that overtime had to be approved in advance.

According to declarations from suit participants, workers who voiced displeasure with these practices were often threatened with dismissal.

Declarations as part of the class action suit reveal that these alleged labor abuses were extended to a variety of different roles within the company. In one declaration, a corporate concierge describes being compelled to plan and work Douglas Emmett’s corporate events. These events – corporate retreats and holiday parties – were often full days for which she was totally unpaid.

According to the suit, Douglas Emmett often would not reimburse business-related expenditures, leaving employees to pay out of pocket.

As the lawsuit progressed, Douglas Emmett distributed a waiver that offered $250 to workers in exchange for them waiving their right to enter the class action lawsuit. According to Rodriguez vs. Douglas Emmett, this was a complex legal document provided only in English. Many of Douglas Emmett’s maintenance workers were not fluent in English, and thus had no grasp of the implications of the document.

In addition, according to Rodriguez a variety of different methods were allegedly used to compel employees to sign the document, including having representatives from Douglas Emmett show up at their personal residences, telling workers that that a signature was necessary for “insurance” purposes, and “threatening to retaliate” against employees who expressed concern regarding the waivers or refused to sign.

These waivers were deemed invalid in Rodriguez vs. Douglas Emmett, and workers who signed were allowed to join Lindsay vs. Douglas Emmett.

Vinluan vs. Douglas Emmett was deemed legally related to Lindsay vs. Douglas Emmett, and was included in its final settlement. The Lindsay and Vinluan class action lawsuit was settled in 2014, before the class was officially certified. Douglas Emmett agreed to pay a total of $400,000 distributed among the participants in the suit.

Wiss vs. Douglas Emmett was settled separately for a total of $6,323. Gonzalez vs. Douglas Emmett was also settled separately for a total of $4,858.

In the course of the proceedings, court documents were made public. They can be read in the case filings below.

Download Case Filings

Date Document
2011-07-28 COMPLAINT(Lindsay vs. Douglas Emmett)
2011-09-06 ANSWER
2011-12-07 COMPLAINT (Wiss vs. Douglas Emmett)
2011-12-08 COMPLAINT (Vinluan vs. Douglas Emmett)
2012-02-14 COMPLAINT (Rodriguez vs. Douglas Emmett)
2012-02-17 NOTICE OF RELATED CASES
2013-03-11 COMPLAINT (Gonzalez vs. Douglas Emmett)
2013-05-07 COMPENDIUM OF PUTATIVE CLAIMS
2013-06-21 EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS' MOTION
2013-07-01 STATUTORY OFFER OF COMPROMISE (Gonzelez vs. Douglas Emmett)
2013-09-03 COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS
2014-07-23 MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT
2017-01-09 DECLARATION OF MICHAEL BUI REGARDING DISBURSEMENT