Mashel Law Files NJ Class Action Against United Natural Foods
May 8, 2018 – Mashel Law filed a class action lawsuit in the New Jersey Superior Court, Middlesex County against United Natural Foods, Inc. (“UNFI”) on behalf of their client David Valykeo, and all similarly situated current and former truck drivers who worked for UNFI in New Jersey alleging UNFI failed to pay overtime wages in violation of the New Jersey Wage and Hour Laws (NJWHL). UNFI is a leading national distributor based on sales of natural, organic and specialty foods and non-food products in the United States and Canada. UNFI claims to offer more than 110,000 high-quality natural, organic and specialty foods and non-food products, consisting of national brands, regional brands, private label, and master distribution products, in six product categories: grocery and general merchandise, produce, perishables and frozen foods, nutritional supplements and sports nutrition, bulk and food service products and personal care items. UNFI has been the primary distributor to Whole Foods Market for more than 19 years. In fact, Whole Foods Market accounted for approximately 33% and 35% of UNFI’s net sales for the years ending July 29, 2017 and July 30, 2016, respectively. UNFI’s net sales for the fiscal year ended July 29, 2017 was $9.27 billion dollars.
Under the class action lawsuit, the proposed class consists of all persons employed by UNFI as truck drivers in New Jersey at any time two years prior to the filing of this action through to the trial of the case who worked over 40 hours per week and were not paid overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate for hours worked in excess of 40 hours during a workweek.
David Valykeo’s attorney, Stephan T. Mashel, Esquire of the law firm of Mashel Law, L.L.C., located in Morganville, New Jersey, says his client seeks class certification and an award of money damages because UNFI failed to pay its workers overtime pay at the legal overtime pay rate required under New Jersey state law. As Mashel explains, “Our courts have made clear the general requirement of employers paying workers in New Jersey 1 ½ times their regular pay rate for each hour worked in excess of 40 during a workweek reflects the strong ‘humanitarian and remedial’ public policy embodied within New Jersey’s wage and hour laws. This is because our state wage and hour laws are designed to ensure workers receive a boost in compensation for the added sacrifice overtime takes from their precious leisure and family time, while also disincentivizing employers from overworking and fatiguing employees to the point where work related illness and accidents become prevalent. By failing to pay overtime at a rate of 1 ½ times the regular rate for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek, UNFI unjustly enriched itself at the expense of its New Jersey based truck drivers. This lawsuit aims to hold this corporate behemoth legally accountable for having done so.”