Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 8

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

LEGAL LANE
Dealership group improperly
denied advisers OT, suit says

A Southern California dealership group
wrongfully classified its service advisers under state labor law to avoid paying them for
overtime, meal breaks that they missed and
rest periods, a proposed class action lawsuit
alleges.
Jim Wolleson, a Gosch Auto Group service
adviser from August 2015 to August 2017, filed
the case in Riverside County Superior Court
on behalf of all service advisers who worked
for the company during the past four years.
The group sells Ford, Chevrolet, Hyundai and
Toyota vehicles at five dealerships in Hemet
and Temecula, Calif.
The suit claims all the group's service advisers
were misclassified as exempt from overtime
wages and other requirements. It asserts that the
company had a "uniform policy and practice
which failed to lawfully compensate these employees for all their unpaid overtime and their
missed meal breaks and unpaid rest periods."
Tim Gosch, the general manager of Gosch
Toyota in Hemet, said he couldn't comment.
The trigger for the suit was a recent state appeals court decision that employees paid on
commission "must be separately compensated for rest periods," said Wolleson's lawyer,
Nicholas De Blouw of La Jolla, Calif.
De Blouw predicted similar class action lawsuits against other dealerships on behalf of
service advisers and F&I managers. "This is
just the beginning," he said.

Techs at N.J. dealership
win wage-bias settlement

Eight service technicians won a settlement
in a lawsuit that claimed a New Jersey dealership hired Chinese techs at a lower starting
wage than it paid American employees.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity

PAGE 8

DECEMBER 2017

Commission sued Winner Ford Cherry Hill in
federal court last year. The EEOC alleged the
dealership paid Chinese techs a starting wage
of $9 an hour, while non-Chinese technicians
would start at $12 or $13 even though they had
"inferior or no electrical or auto body work experience." Pay discrepancies continued
throughout the techs' employment, the commission said.
When technician Ping Zhang discovered the
wage disparity and complained to dealership
executives, the suit said, they "cursed at him
and threatened that if he sought legal advice
he would be out of a job."
Charles S. Winner Inc., which owns the
dealership, will pay the technicians $150,000
in back pay and damages for wage discrepancies dating back to 2010.
The three-year consent decree that settled
the suit also requires Winner Ford to develop
an anti-discrimination policy covering all employees, and to train employees in discrimination law.
Elizabeth Walker, an attorney for the dealership, said the Winner company disagreed
with the allegations in the suit but settled with
the EEOC out of a mutual desire "to avoid the
cost and time involved with continuing litigation."

Dealership, shop sue each
other in licensing dispute

A Mercedes-Benz dealership in New York
and an independent repair shop are suing
each other in a dispute over certification.
An $11.5 million lawsuit filed by North State
Custom, a luxury vehicle repair facility in Bedford Hills, N.Y., alleged that Mercedes-Benz of
Goldens Bridge was operating without a state
repair shop license.
The dealership countersued for damages,
claiming it has always been a registered repair

facility. It asked a Westchester County judge to
dismiss the North State Custom suit.
North State Custom was certified by Mercedes-Benz USA from 2013 until mid-2017,
shortly after a new dealer took over the nearby
M-B franchise, its suit says.
"The new ownership wanted certain terms
and conditions for sponsorship" that changed
the arrangement under which the dealership
sold factory parts to the independent shop,
says North State Custom's lawyer, Robert
Strassberg of New York City.
The original suit contends the dealership
wrongfully demanded "kickbacks" from the
labor costs of each Mercedes vehicle North
State Custom repaired. When the shop refused, the dealership dropped its sponsorship
and MBUSA refused to recertify it, the suit alleges. The dealership then sponsored a different independent shop.
North State Custom said it had done $1.15
million a year in M-B repairs since 2014.
The assertion that Mercedes-Benz of Goldens Bridge lacked a state license is false and
defamatory, says dealership lawyer Marc
Gross of Morristown, N.J. He says North State
Custom "acted with recklessness in their
statements. It's pretty awful to say that about
another business."
The counterclaim denies wrongdoing and
asserts that the dealership "exercised its lawful right" to end its sponsorship of North State
Custom.
Gross says the dealership seeks "damages in
a way that would punish the body shop for
making the statements that it did."
MBUSA and the other independent shop
are co-defendants in North State Custom's
suit.
- Eric Freedman and Jackie Charniga
foj@autonews.com



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017

Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017
Contents
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Big verdict
Ho-ho-ho
Battery charge
Price is right
Tomorrow’s techs
Selling accessories
SEMA dreams
To the rescue
Profit Builder
Richard Truett
On the line
Letters
Real time
Feedback
After hours
Efficiency expert
Longer lasting
Shop Talk
Five Minutes With
Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover2
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Editor’s Letter
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 5
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Service Counter
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 7
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Legal Lane
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Big verdict
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 10
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 11
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Ho-ho-ho
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 13
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Battery charge
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 15
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 16
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 17
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 18
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 19
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 20
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 21
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Price is right
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 23
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Tomorrow’s techs
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 25
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 26
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 27
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Selling accessories
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 29
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - SEMA dreams
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 31
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - To the rescue
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 33
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Profit Builder
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Richard Truett
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - On the line
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Letters
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Real time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 39
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Feedback
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - After hours
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Efficiency expert
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Longer lasting
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Shop Talk
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Five Minutes With
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover3
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover4
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