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Janitors Sue Fred Meyer In Class-Action Lawsuit Alleging Wage Violations

A.F. Litt

Janitors who worked in Fred Meyer stores in Washington state are suing the company and its subcontractors in a class-action lawsuit alleging that they were forced to work off the clock. 

This is a case that involves layers of contractors and a big corporation at the top – Fred Meyer, which is owned by Kroger.

The janitors were employed by a subcontractor, MH Janitorial, which has since gone out of business. They say MH failed to pay them for work they did after their shift was supposed to end.

But the janitors’ attorney, David Mark, said the case is about more than that. He said a big issue is whether Fred Meyer can be held responsible for possible wage violations by its subcontractor. 

"It’s an important issue because the nature of employment has been changing in our society, and the big players are trying to do what they can to shed their responsibility toward people who work in their stores," Mark said. 

Fred Meyer’s attorneys didn’t respond to requests for an interview.

In court filings, the company said it contracted out the janitorial work in order to focus on its core retail business. Fred Meyer said its contractors were responsible for following wage and hour laws and that Fred Meyer employees did not supervise the janitors.

The case heads to trial in King County Superior Court in April.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.