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    Valero Denies Allegations of Underpaying, Overworking

    The company says it is starting its own investigation into the claims being made.

    SAN ANTONIO -- Valero Energy Corp. denies claims made in a federal class-action lawsuit that accuses the San Antonio-based retailer of underpaying and overworking employees at its Corner Store convenience locations.

    Valero spokesman Bill Day told CSNews Online that while company executives had still not received a copy of the lawsuit as of Tuesday afternoon, they had seen enough to know that "Valero believes it has been in compliance with all state and federal laws. In general, we deny the claims that are made in the lawsuit," Day said. "We take these allegations very seriously, though, and starting an investigation into the claims."

    The suit, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, names two former California store managers and one current manager as plaintiffs, and seeks to represent thousands of Valero employees throughout the United States.

    The named plaintiffs—Dorothy McCarthy, Sarndra McKnight and Janice Clifton—are seeking tens of thousands of dollars from Valero for each worker who was underpaid in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the California Labor Code, and the California Business and Professions Code. The FLSA claims are being brought on behalf of all Valero non-exempt Corner Store workers, including store managers and assistant managers who worked at any Valero retail store or Valero-operated brand name store in the nation, according to their attorneys, Sanford Wittels & Heisler LLP.

    Day noted that Valero operates 1,000 corporately owned Corner Stores, but has "no hiring authority" at the other 5,800 Valero-branded stores in the U.S.

    The plaintiffs' attorneys said they estimate the company's liability at $100 million.

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