LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A former broadcast and audio technician for Apple Music in Culver City is suing the company, alleging she was wrongfully fired in 2021 for complaining about being denied meal and rest breaks, but told that she was losing her job for an incident a month earlier for which she was not disciplined at the time.
Sandra Banuelos' Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges 12 causes of action, including wrongful termination, failure to provide meal and rest periods and retaliation. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
An Apple Music representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Friday.
Apple Music is part of a broad range of digital content services offered by Apple and is an audio and video streaming service, through which users can stream audio and video content on their devices. Pro Unlimited, an integrated workforce management platform provider also named as a defendant, offers workforce management services to its corporate clients, allowing them to procure and select employees, the suit states.
Banuelos was hired by the defendants in February 2020 and her primary duties involved loading songs on a computer system to play on air for Apple Music radio stations, along with monitoring the radio stations to ensure that songs were properly playing, the suit states. Banuelos also was assigned to compile lists for her manager at the end of her shifts, detailing the songs that were played as well as any issues she encountered, the suit states.
Banuelos never received mandatory 10-minute rest breaks for every four hours she worked, not was she given uninterrupted thirty 30-minute meal breaks, according to the suit. She worked three to four days weekly and was paid $42.50 per hour but she was not reimbursed for the use of her personal cell phone, which she used to check for updates prior to commencing her shifts, the suit explains.
Banuelos also was required to answer phone calls during non-work hours, the suit states. She complained to her supervisor about the issues with her meal and rest breaks and he told her that if her break was scheduled, she could take it and leave the studio, the suit states.
"However, in the event plaintiff left the studio alone, she was called in and reprimanded for doing so," in effect compelling her to remain the facility, the suit states.
In November 2021, a station Banuelos was overseeing went off the air for a minute due to a computer glitch completely out of her control, but she was able to put the radio shows back on quickly, the suit states. She reported the problem and was not given a written reprimand, the suit states.
However, when Banuelos later that month again raised her concerns regarding her meal and rest breaks, she was fired and told it was because of the off-air incident earlier in the month, according to the suit, which further states that management's explanation for why she lost her job " was clear pretext as the off-air incident was not treated as punishable offense when it happened."
Banuelos was not paid her final wages until four days after her firing, the suit states. She continues to deal with substantial losses in earnings and other benefits, her ability to obtain equivalent employment and wages has been diminished and she also has incurred "great mental pain and suffering," according to the suit.