RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A national logistics company has been accused of engaging in massive fraud, destruction of evidence and lying to mask its responsibility for the unlawful treatment of warehouse workers in Southern California, according to allegations in a sanctions motion filed Thursday in federal court.
Plaintiffs in Carillo v. Schneider, a class action lawsuit seeking reimbursement of millions of dollars in stolen wages over the past ten years from warehouse workers in Schneider’s Mira Loma, California facility, contend that Schneider improperly withheld critical documents, engaged in an escalating series of deliberate discovery violations, knowingly destroyed evidence, and filed false statements, all to avoid liability for depriving their warehouse workers of rights protected by law. The warehouse workers are seeking sanctions for this alleged misconduct, including that the court should find that the destroyed evidence would have supported the warehouse workers’ case.
“From the outset of this litigation, Schneider and its counsel have engaged in efforts – through artifice, duplicity, and…perjury – to conceal Schneider’s status as the plaintiffs’ joint employer,” according to the motion.
The federal case was filed in October 2011. Since then, a federal judge has issued several orders and injunctions in favor of the workers, including an injunction prohibiting the mass firing of workers who had filed the lawsuit.
“Honest discourse is key to understanding Schneider’s involvement in illegal working conditions for warehouse workers and ultimately to understand Walmart’s role,” said Guadalupe Palma, a campaign director for Warehouse Workers United, an organization dedicated to improving warehousing jobs. “These allegations suggest that Schneider is willing to lie, hide evidence and abuse the trust of the court in order to protect retailers like Walmart and to hide its role in creating illegal and inhumane working conditions.”
Warehouse workers routinely lift heavy boxes – up to 200-pounds – from shipping containers on a piece rate system or for minimum wage for hours and days on end – in some cases 362 days a year. Workers encounter inhumane work speeds, moving up to 450 boxes per hour by hand, pollutants, high temperatures, little ventilation and intense retaliation if they complain about the conditions. Serious injuries on the job are common.