Security guards at the Orpheum on Market Street filed a lawsuit that claims they were denied breaks and not paid overtime. (Aleah Fajardo/Special To S.F. Examiner)

Security guards at Orpheum, Golden Gate theaters sue over alleged unfair workplace violations

A class-action lawsuit was filed Tuesday by security guards of the Orpheum and Golden Gate theaters who claim they were not paid overtime or allowed to take breaks, among other workplace violations.

The complaint alleges the Shorenstein-Hays-Nederlander Theaters, owners of the two theaters and the now closed Curran Theater, violated California’s wage hour code and San Francisco’s sick leave ordinance.

Among the violations cited in the complaint were failure to pay their security guards all the wages due, not consistently paying overtime when warranted; denial of breaks and meals; not providing suitable seating while on the job and not providing sick leave.

A spokesperson for Shorenstein-Hays-Nederlander Theaters declined to comment.

The class action lawsuit’s lead representatives are Darol Smith, 82, and Joseph Rodrigues, 59. Smith has worked as a security guard at the theaters for 37 years and is considered a full-time worker. Rodrigues has worked as a security guard for almost eight years and is classified as part-time .

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, also includes 45 current and former security guards, although the class action status allows more to join the suit.

The security guards are responsible for security before and after shows and when productions are unloading and loading equipment. Many security guards are former ex-police and probation officers.

The security guards complained about being often on-call for duty and the unpredictability of the hours they worked. The guards say they frequently worked longer than eight hours per shift, and sometimes 12 hours straight. Many times, the total hours worked in a single week was greater than 40 hours per week.

Gay Grunfeld, the lead attorney representing the security guards, said the theater owners had yet to provide detailed time records to their workers. Allegedly, the theater owners did not have a time stamp system tracking the hours worked.

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