Employee's Lawsuit Accuses Costco Of False Imprisonment

A Costco Wholesale Corp. employee has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming the company violated wage and hour laws in California.

Costco, which is based in Issaquah, Wash., said it does not comment on pending litigation.

According to the complaint, filed Friday in California Superior Court in San Diego, Costco required employees to work off the clock, failed to pay overtime and required employees to remain locked inside the store after they'd clocked out at the end of their shift.

Mary Pytelewski, a full-time clerk at Costco's warehouse in San Marcos, Calif. for more than a decade, filed the suit. The lawsuit seeks class-action status.

The complaint alleges the company required employees to stay inside the warehouse every night for approximately 15 minutes after they finished work and were off the clock. During this period, the stores' managers perform closing activities, but attorneys in the case say the practice constitutes false imprisonment because workers are being held against their will.

"Costco makes the false claim that locking these employees inside its warehouses until store managers and supervisors complete their closing routines is necessary for store security," David Sanford, attorney for Pytelewski said.

Pytelewski said in a statement she complained about the practice but was "rebuffed and ridiculed at every turn."

The attorneys are seeking no less than $50 million for Pytelewski and the class, along with other damages and fees.

Shares of Costco fell 5 cents to close at $44.75 Friday.