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Forever on the Clock: Employees Sue Forever 21 for Unpaid Wages

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Photo by GabrielaP93 via Flickr
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Remember when you worked in retail, and before you left for your lunch break a manager would check your bag to make sure you hadn't applied the five-finger discount to any merchandise?

Well, guess what? That was potentially illegal, and some employees of Forever 21 are now suing the clothing company for hours unpaid as they underwent bag checks when they should have been off the clock. The Huffington Post reports:

On Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court, five employees -- four former, one current -- filed a class action lawsuit against the company, seeking damages for the hours that Forever 21 made them work off the clock, and for the meal breaks that they were denied...Because the employees had already clocked out, this amounts to unpaid labor. Moreover, these unpaid hours could add up to millions in damages should other employees turn out to have suffered the same treatment.

At least one of the plaintiffs in the case worked in the L.A. area. Tiffinee Linthicum has been employed by the company since 2008, and clocked time in a Valencia store and a Palmdale store.

The bag checks, says a spokesperson for Forever 21, are part of the company's routine loss prevention plan. But that doesn't mean that the court will find in their favor -- similar suits have resulted in out-of-court settlements, such as a 2010 case against Ralph Lauren which ended in the company paying employees a total of $4 million.