The number one online real estate website is facing a $5 million class action lawsuit for intimidating employees to skip meals and work long hours without pay.
Former sales representative Ian Freeman filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of he and his coworkers, accusing Zillow of “exploiting and intimidating its employees to miss meal breaks, rest breaks, and work overtime without compensation,” the complaint states.
Zillow, which is headquartered in Seattle, allows users to search its database for housing listings and current market value estimates on about 100 million homes nationwide. The company became the largest online real estate website after it bought out its top competition, Trulia, in July for $3.5 billion in stock.
Beyond working long hours, Freeman and other plaintiffs assert Zillow altered employees’ time sheets to show that they worked from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Employees were pressured to clock in early and stay late, often through legally designated meal or rest periods, but only paid for working an eight-hour work day, according to the suit.
Zillow may have also violated California labor laws and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires companies to give workers 10-minute breaks for every four hours worked at minimum. The company may also be liable for more than $5 million in unpaid and undocumented overtime.
Online companies have recently come under scrutiny for wage disputes and run-ins with labor laws. LinkedIn recently had to pay $4 million in unpaid overtime following a U.S. Department of Labor investigation. Ride-share app Uber has had a slew of wage complaints and protests from its UberX drivers across the country.
After nationwide protests in September, Google hired a number of its security guards after workers demanded lack of benefits and disproportionately low wages.
Meanwhile, Apple and other top tech companies such as Google, Pixar and Adobe are in the midst of a wage dispute worth hundreds of millions of dollars after employees sued the companies for conspiring to suppress wages.