Employee Files NY Class Action Over CVS Uniform Policy

Named plaintiff and former CVS employee Ahkilah Benjamin filed a putative class action on Oct. 28, alleging that the drug store chain required its employees to wear uniforms, although it neither laundered them nor provided employees with an allowance to do so, in violation of New York law. The suit was filed against CVS Albany LLC, CVS Pharmacy Inc. and CVS Health Corporation (collectively CVS) to recover uniform maintenance allowance under state law provisions.

According to the state court complaint, the plaintiff worked at one of the drug store retailer’s Manhattan, New York, storefronts from February 2019 until October 2020. Reportedly, she was paid $15 per hour during her employment and was required to wear a logo-emblazoned uniform while performing her job duties. The plaintiff alleged that New York law requires employers to launder uniforms or to provide employees with additional compensation to do so.

The plaintiff concluded that CVS did neither, thereby violating the law. She seeks to certify a class of current and former employees who worked in the defendants’ CVS stores in New York from March 20, 2014, to the present and were paid at or below the state’s minimum wage for at least one week.

The complaint also noted that, pursuant to the governor’s COVID-19 executive orders, the statute of limitations has been tolled since March. For the alleged harm, the plaintiff and putative class members seek statutorily prescribed damages ranging from $4.75 per week to $18.65 per week, per individual.

The figure reportedly varies depending on several factors. According to the filing, an individual’s damages are based on “the number of weeks worked during the relevant class period at the minimum wage rate, the number of hours worked per week, the year in which the work was performed and the location within New York where the work was performed.” According to the plaintiff, each class member’s damages can be computed using CVS payroll and time records that are required to be created and maintained by law.

The plaintiff is represented by Virginia & Ambinder LLP.