CAUTIONARY TALES EPISODE 31 « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles



708,521 Reasons to Pay Workers Legally

Not having worker’s compensation insurance for five years was bad enough, but when the Labor Commissioner’s Office started investigating a workers’ compensation complaint against 53-bed Amore Retirement Living, it also discovered failure to pay minimum wage, overtime, and other wage and hour violations. See News Release No. 2019-54 (July 2019).

Although 48 employees averaged 58 hours a week for 28 months up to October 2017, Amore had not paid them overtime or provided meal breaks. It also did not pay 29 employees the one-hour premium required for split shifts. See Local Minimum Wage Rates Can Affect Split Shifts (December 2018).

The investigation resulted in $469,103 in workers’ compensation citations in 2018 against the parent company, Krysella Trismeo Corporation. This month, the Labor Commissioner has also cited the parent company and its CEO, Sheryll Miranda-Sunga, $708,521 for the wage and hour violations, consisting of $623,871 for unpaid minimum wages and overtime, “liquidated damages” (automatically double the minimum wages owed), and meal period and wage statement violations as well as $7,766 in unpaid contract wages. The citation also includes another $84,650 in civil penalties.

As the state’s press release stated, California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su stated: “This residential care facility required its workers to be available around the clock but didn’t pay them a just day’s wages. In industries where employees are expected to work overtime or on call, California law requires that they be paid for all hours worked. Anything less is wage theft.”

It is not uncommon for the state to find wage violations during a workers’ compensation investigation.  As Secretary Su observed: “Enforcement investigations typically include a payroll audit of the previous three years to determine minimum wage, overtime and other labor law violations, and calculate payments owed and penalties due.”

Obviously, compliance with applicable wage and hour standards is not just a good idea, it’s a survival point, for all concerned.

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For further information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin

July 12, 2019