As Peloton weighs layoffs and production pauses amid a bleak financial forecast, at least five employees across multiple divisions are claiming that the company owes them money for work they performed.
Two employees in recent months — a Minnesota delivery worker and a Los Angeles salesperson — have filed class-action lawsuits against the company alleging that it didn’t appropriately compensate them for overtime. Three other employees who spoke with BuzzFeed News also raised pay issues, such as working through breaks, not being reimbursed for work expenses, and not being paid out for vacation time upon termination.
“We worked off the clock a lot,” said Ed Bonilla, who worked in a Peloton warehouse in New York. Bonilla, who is not suing the company, said it was common to clock out only to be asked to stick around, sometimes for as much as an additional hour without pay. “Oftentimes we work through our breaks and don’t get to take them on time or at all,” he said. “I missed my lunches almost every day.”
Peloton, which sells high-end exercise equipment and streaming video subscriptions, experienced a boom during the coronavirus pandemic when people were unable to go to public gyms. To achieve that record growth, the company relied on employees around the country to sell its bikes in showrooms, assemble them in warehouses, and deliver them to homes. But while Peloton’s headquarters was voted the best place to work in New York City in 2021 — a stated goal of CEO John Foley — workers who sold, assembled, and delivered bikes said working for the company wasn’t always a fair deal.
Concerns about missing pay at Peloton have been raised by sales staff, assembly workers, video production staff, and delivery drivers. In Minnesota, a delivery worker named Trevon Estes filed suit against Peloton in October, alleging the company “willfully engaged in a pattern, policy, and practice of unlawful conduct” and owes him and other delivery workers in the state for overtime pay. According to the complaint, in addition to the unpaid overtime issue, Estes also “frequently performed work for Defendant during scheduled break periods” without pay. Peloton denied the charges in court filings.
Another former Peloton employee who did delivery work for the company in Oregon said the hours were irregular, and he was sometimes asked to train workers without additional pay. “Many of my coworkers had to pick up shifts with DoorDash just to pay their bills,” he said.
The worker requested anonymity out of concern that Peloton would sue him; Foley recently said the company is pursuing legal action against employees who have leaked information about Peloton’s financial difficulties to the press.
Peloton, which recently raised its starting wage to $19 an hour, said it provides paid break time in accordance with labor laws. “We are committed to creating an inclusive, kind, and productive culture where all team members are treated respectfully and have the tools to succeed,” a Peloton spokesperson said in a statement. “Peloton employees are fairly paid, and we are committed to adhering to all legal requirements in every state in which we operate.”
Mark Cohen, a sales representative who filed his lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in January, worked at Peloton for more than five years, from November 2016 to December 2021. His lawsuit alleges that, in addition to failing to pay overtime and minimum wage, Peloton failed to reimburse him for work expenses such as car mileage and cellphone bills. It also says Peloton failed to pay out full “wages due upon termination of employment” such as vacation time, which is legally required in California. The suit, which has not yet been certified as a class action by the court, “challenges systemic illegal employment practices resulting in violations of the California Labor Code,” according to the complaint.
Cohen declined to comment on the record regarding his case. In court filings, Peloton denied the allegations.
Similar lawsuits concerning wage and hour issues have been filed elsewhere against Peloton over the years. In 2017, Drake Widlake, who worked in video production for Peloton in New York and said he was owed overtime pay, settled a lawsuit against the company for $80,000. The company denied wrongdoing. Prior to Cohen’s case, two other employment suits were filed against Peloton in Los Angeles; one, brought by operations manager Ricardo Jacobo, was settled in September 2020, while another brought by former salesperson Brittany Gross is still being heard. Two warehouse workers in Northern California, Meagan Hernandez and E’Monii Crumby, brought a lawsuit alleging unpaid wages against Peloton in February 2020; the company denied the charges, and the case is still ongoing.
Even as Peloton’s stock prices skyrocketed over the last two years, employees have had complaints about their working conditions. Black Peloton employees spoke out in November about pay inequity, and in June 2020, delivery employees raised safety concerns about entering private homes during the pandemic. Employees have also had to deal with the company’s financial and logistical instability as demand surged but supply chain issues caused unexpected delays.
Two former Peloton delivery workers told BuzzFeed News they repeatedly showed up to work only to be told there was nothing to do.
If schedules change at the last minute, Peloton said it “routinely” pays workers “for a minimum of four hours” of work. But the former Oregon-based worker said that wasn’t his experience.
“There were multiple instances where I would go into work for my scheduled shift just to be sent home without pay,” he said. “We were all expected to commute across town to work, only to be told, ‘Sorry, we've got nothing for you,’ and be sent home.
“For a company that preaches company values and taking care of their employees,” he continued, “they really left us to fend for ourselves.”