A class-action lawsuit accusing Sonic Automotive Inc. and a number of its Houston-area stores of violating labor laws will proceed, a Texas federal judge has ruled.
The decision rejected Sonic's bid to dismiss the case filed on behalf of porters, valets, car washers, detailers and shuttle drivers. The suit accuses the dealership group and the stores of failing to pay minimum wage and overtime and failing to pay for all the hours the employees worked. Sonic has disputed the allegations in court filings, arguing it wasn't the workers' employer for purposes of the wage and hours law.
The plaintiffs were employed through now-defunct Rascoa, which had a supply and service agreement with Sonic, the Feb. 25 decision said. They claim they were assigned to individual stores and received uniforms or badges with the dealerships' individual logos, and that Sonic and Rascoa "had joint authority to hire and fire them," jointly controlled their pay rates and jointly supervised and controlled work schedules and conditions of employment.
The parties are now conducting pretrial discovery to identify which employees are covered by the suit.