California workers are often subjected to violations of state and federal wage and hour laws. Employees working in entry level jobs or jobs that are based in manual labor are often victimized. In some cases, the people are immigrants and are unaware of their rights based on wage and hour law. If a court determines a violation has occurred, the employer can be ordered to pay what should have been paid under the law, plus additional damages.
A California recycling company was recently ordered to pay workers $113,000 in back pay as well as damages. Seven workers received this compensation. According to the U.S. Labor Department, the workers were paid in cash and denied overtime, and the company failed to keep its records correctly. This company has several locations for recycling purposes. The workers were working as much as 65 hours over six days and going back and forth between locations without being paid for it. This comes on the heels of another recycling company being ordered to pay 15 employees more than $200,000 for wage violations of their own.
For his part, the owner of the first company says that he believes the fines were unfair. He says that he provides undocumented immigrants employment opportunities. The company now has time clocks and the workers have to punch in and out.
According to the law, workers are supposed to receive overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. State law requires time-and-a-half be paid to workers who go beyond an eight-hour shift.
Employees who fear for their job if they are not paid what they are owed and choose not to protest need to know that they have rights and it is the employer who should be concerned. If an employee suspects a violation of wage and hour laws, speaking to an attorney about filing a case to get what is owed is a wise decision.
Source: wastedive.com, “Crackdown on wage violations continues in California recycling industry,” Cole Rosengren, May 20, 2016