Tomorrow, many Americans will prepare their Thanksgiving feast from a box of assembled ingredients, opting to skip the crowded grocery store frenzy by ordering their Thanksgiving meal from a meal kit delivery service. However, customers may be left with a bad taste in their mouths to learn that many of the workers that assemble their meals are being subjected to unsafe, unlawful working conditions and unfairly compensated for their work.
That is the subject of a recent class action lawsuit filed in Northern California against Blue Apron, claiming that Blue Apron failed to pay workers overtime and failed to provide them with mandatory meal and rest breaks.
Meal kit delivery services are growing in popularity, and there are number of brands to choose from like Blue Apron, Martha and Marley Spoon, HelloFresh, or Sun Basket. Forbes reports the trend for these online meal-kit delivery services will continue, forecasting online sales of meal kits to top $10 billion by 2020, up from about $1 billion in 2015. These meal kit delivery services have capitalized on their success by reinventing dinner, making it easy and accessible for cooks of all skill levels.
However, there is one group of people who have plenty of complaints about this new industry: the workers.
Blue Apron employs over 1000 employees at their warehouse center in Richmond, California where nearly 8 million meal kits are assembled each month. Even under fair conditions, the job is difficult. Blue Apron workers assemble the perishable meal kit boxes inside warehouses kept at a temperature below 40 degrees. According to an investigative report by Buzzfeed, Blue Apron employees reported working 12 hour shifts, five to six days each week on the assembly line in order to meet production deadlines.
On October 5, 2018, a class action lawsuit was filed against Blue Apron in the Alameda County Superior Court, alleging that Blue Apron failed to properly pay its workers, failed to provide its workers with meal and rest breaks, and failed to provide workers with accurate itemized wage statements. The lawsuit covers all Blue Apron hourly employees that work/worked in California from October 5, 2014 to the present. Plaintiff and the putative class are represented by the Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC. The case was removed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on November 19, 2018 (Fairley v. Blue Apron, Inc., Case No. 3:18-cv-07000).
If you believe you have been subjected to employment discrimination, unfair pay or unsafe working conditions, please contact Bryan Schwartz Law today.