PG&E has systematically denied pension credits to employees it misclassified as “independent contractors” in the 1980s and 1990s for purposes of calculating retirement benefits, argue several Plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed November 1, 2016 in federal court in San Francisco by Feinberg, Jackson, Worthman & Wasow LLP. PG&E’s scheme resulted in a ratio of fifteen “independent contractors” for every acknowledged employee at its Diablo Canyon Power Plant, as well as misclassification elsewhere in the state, allege the Plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs seek recognition of their years of employment at PG&E when they were subject to this scheme, which affected scores of PG&E employees, particularly at its Diablo Canyon Power Plant. All three were eventually reclassified as employees, but PG&E continues to refuse to recognize their years of employment when they were misclassified as independent contractors.
The vast extent of this practice came to light in earlier San Francisco litigation filed on behalf of another PG&E employee. Internal PG&E documents were uncovered showing a scheme to deny service credits during years of misclassification because of a concern that “if we lose on this in court, there is the possibility that [Plaintiffs’ attorneys] will be trying to bring claims like this on behalf of other former contract workers.”
Similar irregularities were uncovered in administrative claims on behalf of the Plaintiffs in the litigation filed November 1, 2016, as well as several of their similarly misclassified peers. For example, legal memoranda prepared behind closed doors for PG&E recommended recognition of years of service when employees were misclassified and even recommended recognizing one specific misclassified individual as an employee during the time period in question. PG&E ignored these recommendations and ceased seeking legal advice as to whether these individuals were properly considered employees once it became clear that such advice would not come out in its favor, Plaintiffs allege.
For more information on this claim, contact Dan Feinberg.