An anonymous tip led the California Labor Commissioner’s Office to investigate a residential care company in San Diego. The investigation into the employment practices of Family Residential Care LLC and Del Cerro Assisted Living resulted in a $1.1 million fine for the employer.
The investigation revealed numerous violations of state laws on minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping. Fifteen caregivers at four worksites were paid less than $4 per hour for working 24-hour shifts for five days each week, well below the minimum wage. Most of these workers were women who had recently immigrated to the United States. They were required to sleep in the same rooms as their patients and to reimburse the employer for their food and lodging. The Labor Commissioner found that each caregiver was owed back wages ranging from $4,326 to $45,401. As a result of its many statutory violations, the employer must now pay $331,843 in lost minimum wages, $386,602 in overtime wages, plus $393,158 in liquidated damages. That’s a grand total of $1,111,603! (Labor Commissioner’s press release, Oct. 10, 2016.)
Tips: Employers should make sure their employees are paid at least minimum wage, plus all overtime worked. As this case demonstrates, it is not worth cutting corners when it comes to complying with wage and hour laws. Employers with minimum wage and shift workers should routinely audit their scheduling and pay practices to ensure compliance with the law. If you need help with wage and hour compliance or pay discrimination concerns, contact your Vigilant employment attorney and review our other articles related to wage and hour issues.
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