If some workers get their way we may witness the real life version of Revenge of the Nerds -- or in this case, geeks.
Geek Squad workers have filed a class action lawsuit against parent company Best Buy, alleging they were forced to work off the clock and without rest periods, Law360 reports. The case is the second lawsuit filed by lead plaintiff Chris Bonnel against Best Buy, after the first failed to show the full extent of Bonnel’s claims agasint the electronics store chain.
Lawsuits accusing employers of not paying their workers properly have exploded in the last few years, as recession layoffs required employers to lean more heavily on fewer workers. In 2011, companies in the S&P 500 made $420,000 in revenue per employee, the Fiscal Times reports, even as worker ouput grew and real wages fell. During the same year, workers filed 7,006 lawsuits relating to wage and hour violations in federal courts, according to the Fiscal Times. That’s a 32 percent increase from 2008 and a 378 percent increase from 2000.
Indeed, between 1979 and 2009 worker wages increased by just 10.1 percent compared to an 80 percent increase in worker productivity, according to a 2011 report by the Economic Policy Institute.
Several recent lawsuits have claimed high profile companies aren’t giving employees the wages they deserve. Just last week, Walmart was fined $4.8 million by the Labor Department for not paying some workers their fair share of overtime wages. Drug company Novartis settled for $99 million over unpaid overtime, while lawsuits relating similar claims are pending at Taco Bell and GlaxoSmithkline.
But there’s also a whole other class of worker that’s claiming companies haven’t provided adequate compensation: unpaid interns. A league of interns led by Diana Wang, a former intern at Harper's Bazaar, recently filed a class action lawsuit alleging that the Hearst Corporation -- Harper's parent company -- broke labor laws by having her work as many as 55 hours a week without compensation, TIME reports.