Four former employees of Polo Ralph Lauren filed a lawsuit today in San Francisco Superior Court against the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, alleging that the company repeatedly violated the rights of its employees, according to Patrick Kitchin, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.
The complaint seeks to be certified as a class action lawsuit on behalf of current and former Polo employees in California who are paid on an hourly basis and who were subjected to the alleged labor violations described in the complaint.
The plaintiffs allege that Polo paid them less than their promised base pay rate, denied them break periods, manipulated the records of the time they worked, and required them to perform work for which they were not paid.
The plaintiffs also argue that they were falsely imprisoned in locked stores after hours so that store managers could check them for stolen goods.
According to Kitchin, the four plaintiffs are seeking unpaid wages, penalties and punitive damages.
The plaintiffs worked for Polo Ralph Lauren at retail stores in Palo Alto and San Francisco.
Kitchin and attorney Daniel Feder are also representing another group of plaintiffs in an employment class action lawsuit that is pending against Polo Ralph Lauren. That lawsuit, filed in 2002, alleges that Polo broke California labor law by requiring employees to buy Polo clothes to wear as a work uniform, according to Kitchin.
A $1.5 million settlement in that case is expected to be reviewed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Thursday. The settlement, if approved, would give payments of up to $3,000 in cash and gift certificates to long-time Polo employees, Kitchin said.
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