Blue Apron, the highly popular meal-kit service, is under fire by its own employees. The California-based company is now the subject of a class-action suit over a variety of labor law violations.
According to the allegations, Blue Apron employees were subjected to unfair labor practices all the time, including being forced to work overtime without compensation and were obliged to clock out for their meal break — a practice known as “time shaving” which deprived them of a half hour of pay. The case has class action status, which means that all employees affected by Blue Apron’s actions between 2014 and 2018 are included in the suit. If they are successful, Blue Apron stands to pay out around five million dollars.
This is not the first time that Blue Apron has been under legal fire. In the past, state officials fined its plant in Richmond for health and safety violations. The Berkeley Labor Center also published a scathing report on the company’s factory — which employs mostly low-income workers with little education or resources. The report cited unpleasant working conditions, poor wages, long hours and a history of safety issues and accidents.
The company also abruptly laid off four percent of its staff to boost its quarterly earnings report and improve its stock. The company opened its stock to the public at $10 per share. The stock now hovers close to only one dollar per share.
It’s not exactly unusual for companies to put profits ahead of employees — but Blue Apron’s corporate image is tied to ideals that it doesn’t seem to practice in real life. Its corporate motto says, “we win together, not alone; we operate with integrity.” If the allegations are true, there’s not much integrity in depriving employees of their much-needed income.