Cannabis retailer MedMen is facing a class action lawsuit from former employees who say the company has committed multiple violations of labor laws. The suit was filed on November 16 in California Superior Court in Los Angeles against two MedMen subsidiaries, Manlin I and DT Fund II Group, according to a report from Marijuana Business Daily.
The suit alleges that MedMen failed to pay employees at least minimum wage for work performed off the clock and did not pay employees for all hours worked, including overtime. The company also failed to provide required meal and rest breaks and did not keep accurate records of the hours worked by employees, according to the suit. The plaintiffs allege that MedMen “intentionally” failed to pay employees as required by California law.
Attorney Daniel Srourian is representing plaintiffs Chelsea Medlock and Anthony Torres, two former employees who worked at the MedMen location in West Hollywood, California.
“It’s wage theft,” Srourian said.
Srourian has asked the court to grant class-action status to the lawsuit and allow all current and former MedMen employees to join. If that request is approved, the number of plaintiffs could grow to hundreds or even thousands. Srourian said that the litigation could take “months to years.” He did not estimate what MedMen’s total liability in the case might be but believes it could be “substantial.”
Daniel Yi, MedMen senior vice president of communications, issued a statement via email.
“We do not comment on ongoing litigation or personnel matters. We value the contributions of every team member here at MedMen,” Yi wrote. “We offer competitive compensation and strive to cultivate a thriving work environment.”
Lawsuit a ‘Big Deal’
Katy Young, a San Francisco attorney who specializes in business disputes in the cannabis industry, characterized the MedMen lawsuit as “a big deal, definitely.”
“Class actions are very serious to deal with, and if the class gets certified, it’s a real problem for the employer,” said Young. “Wage and hour issues are very serious as there are penalties. Not only are there liabilities for what you didn’t pay, sometimes there are treble damages.”
Young said that the suit could be “a potentially multimillion-dollar problem” for the company.
MedMen was founded in California in 2010 and operates 19 licensed cannabis businesses in California, Nevada, and New York, including cultivation facilities, processing operations, and retail stores. The company places a heavy emphasis on marketing and seeks upscale shopping destinations for the location of many of its stores. MedMen is a publicly traded company on the Canadian Securities Exchange. In August, Antonio Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles, joined the company’s board of directors.