A craft brewery in Petaluma and a non-profit organization in Santa Rosa, seemingly quite different, have found themselves in a similar legal situation. Both HenHouse Brewing Company and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa have been sued in the Sonoma County Superior Court, with accusations involving alleged California labor laws violations.
Former HenHouse employee Julio Cesar Cuello Cardenas and Catholic Charities worker Kimberlee Keller have filed individual lawsuits, alleging violations of California state laws related to minimum wage, overtime, breaks, timely payment, detailed pay stubs, and expense reimbursement. These legal filings were made on September 12 and 11, respectively.
Cardenas and Keller seek the certification of their lawsuits as class actions, with the intention of including more workers who claim to have been affected by these alleged violations. Their goal is to take these cases to juries to determine both damages and appropriate legal fees.
According to Keller’s lawsuit, the total amount sought for any other potentially affected worker could span up to four years and be less than $5 million.
Cardenas served as a packaging technician in HenHouse’s Santa Rosa brewery and tasting room from July 2022 until May of this year. His 24-page legal complaint describes his duties, which included overseeing beer samples for quality control, cleaning tasks, end-of-day paperwork, and facility closure. The lawsuit alleges that HenHouse had the financial capability to provide adequate compensation but chose not to do so in order to increase its own profits.
On the other hand, Keller worked at Catholic Charities from March 2022 until January of this year. Her legal filing mentions that the organization “required” working through lunch breaks, and there were even days when the plaintiff did not receive a partial lunch. This case is being handled by Jean-Claude Lapuyade, one of the four lawyers working on the case, based at the JCL Law firm in San Diego.
As of now, HenHouse Brewing Company has not responded to requests for comments, despite several attempts to reach them.
Regarding Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa, their Executive Director, Jennielynn Holmes, stated that this is the first time the organization has faced such a labor lawsuit. Holmes expressed that even though they are a non-profit organization funded by various sources, they undergo regular audits to ensure compliance with necessary labor procedures as a condition for receiving funding.
Additionally, she mentioned that timesheets are the most scrutinized documents, especially for public funds, to ensure that the money is being used properly. The organization has denied the accusations, stating that its policies are based on state labor law and the organization’s values.
In conclusion, HenHouse Brewing Company and Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa are facing similar legal allegations that could have a significant impact on both their reputation and finances.
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