The Home Depot in Lynnwood on Sept. 3. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

The Home Depot in Lynnwood on Sept. 3. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

Lawsuit: Home Depot doesn’t give workers enough breaks

The suit could cover at least 10,000 employees across the retailer’s 45 locations in Washington.

EVERETT — Home Depot stores in Washington don’t give its hourly employees their legally-required breaks, alleges a lawsuit filed late last month against the company.

The potential class action suit, filed in Snohomish County Superior Court, could cover at least 10,000 employees across the home improvement retailer’s 45 locations in Washington.

State regulations require employees be allowed a 30-minute meal break between the second and fifth hours of their shift. Employers are also mandated to give workers rest breaks of at least 10 minutes every four hours. Home Depots, like the one in Everett, did not comply with these requirements, the 10-page complaint claims. The lawsuit says this occurs because Home Depot stores are “intentionally staffed at minimal levels,” causing chronic understaffing.

“It’s a safety issue in a lot of occupations and a human decency issue in all of them,” Seattle attorney Duncan Turner said.

Turner is no stranger to high-profile cases. He was the lead attorney for thousands of workers in SeaTac who sued their employers for not paying a $15 per hour minimum wage. That lawsuit ended in an $8.2 million settlement for the employees.

Companies also must keep records of workers, including dates of employment, hours worked and wages. Those records have to be available to the employees upon request.

“Because of its chronic understaffing, Home Depot’s hourly retail employees are often unable to take the meal and rest breaks required by law, and Home Depot fails to accurately keep track of the missed breaks and fails to compensate these workers for the missed breaks,” the lawsuit argues.

The model worker in this case for these concerns is Richard Didzun. In 2015, he trained at a Home Depot in Bothell. Then, until 2019, he worked at the retailer’s Everett location before moving to the Aberdeen store last September.

Home Depot also faces a lawsuit in federal court brought on behalf of the retailer’s hourly-paid supervisors and specialists. The complaint in that case, which originated in King County last June, claims supervisors often miss their rest and meal breaks because of understaffing. Dozens of employees from across Washington, however, have filed statements in court saying they rarely, if ever, missed breaks.

One employee at the Home Depot in Everett wrote there was a document next to the time clock saying workers must take lunch before the fifth hour of their shifts. Another staffer at the store in Snohomish said his meal breaks were late at least half of the time. He got rest breaks 10% of the time, the employee wrote in court documents.

Home Depot officials could not be reached for comment.

Most of the workers covered in the new lawsuit won’t overlap with those in this federal case, Turner said.

Attorneys haven’t started reaching out to workers like Didzun who could have missed breaks. The case isn’t considered a class action lawsuit until it is certified as such by a judge, Turner said.

Despite his allegations, Didzun likes Home Depot, Turner said.

“He just thinks he should be entitled to a break and everybody else should,” he said.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Twins Leslie Davis (left) and Lyndsay Lamb stage a house in Everett as seen on the second season of "Unsellable Houses" on HGTV. (HGTV photo)
Sold: Snohomish twins back for more HGTV ‘Unsellable Houses’

The makeover show’s 13 episodes feature Snohomish County homes, with decor items sold at new store.

Tuesday's career fair will be at Everett Community College, which incidentally is also one of the participants. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Snohomish County Career Fair set for Tuesday at EvCC

Job seekers can connect with more than 40 employers at this year’s annual event.

Workers build the first all-electric commuter plane, the Eviation Alice, at Eviation's plant on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 in Arlington, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
All eyes on Alice, the electric plane made in Arlington

If all goes well, Eviation’s battery-powered airplane will make its debut test flight later this year.

Snohomish County unemployment rate drops slightly to 5.6%

Washington added 16,800 jobs in August.

Report: Criminal indictment coming for former Boeing official

Mark Forkner was the 737 Max Chief Technical Pilot who is alleged to have lied to aviation regulators.

Bufeng Gao, owner of Qin Xi'an Noodles, receives a check from the Edmonds Chamber Foundation's Wish Fund outside of her restaurant that was burned in a fire on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After arson burns Edmonds plaza, 14 businesses need help

Plum Tree Plaza — a cultural hub for Asian Americans — burned in a three-alarm fire early Sept. 11.

Hand drawn vector illustration of bottle of red wine and two glasses. Abstract cartoon style isolated.
You voted: The best wine list in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, folks still have their favorites.

Boeing sells land for $200M in plan to shrink holdings

Boeing has sold 310 acres of undeveloped land next to its Frederickson manufacturing plant.

Washington August jobless rate was 5.1%; 16,800 jobs added

August’s rate was the same as July’s rate, and increased even as COVID-19 cases surge.

Boeing moving 150 jobs from Washington and California to Texas

The affected jobs are in the company’s global parts distribution unit.

Commercial Aircraft Interiors General Manager James Barnett stands in a warehouse aisle of 777 overhead bins at the company's new building on Monday, May 20, 2019 in Arlington, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
12 Snohomish County aero firms get $19M for job protection

The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection grants could save 2,280 Washington jobs for up to six months.

FILE - The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Despite the pandemic's damage to air travel, Boeing says it's optimistic about long-term demand for airplanes. Boeing said Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 that it expects the aerospace market to be worth $9 trillion over the next decade. That includes planes for airlines and military uses and other aerospace products and services. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, file)
Pandemic hasn’t dimmed Boeing’s rosy prediction for planes

The company is bullishly predicting a $9 trillion market over the next decade.