CAUTIONARY TALES EPISODE 7 « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Paying Live-In Caregivers “Daily Flat Rate” Can Be a Very Expensive Mistake

Continuing her public campaign for employers to adhere to California wage and hour laws, Labor Commissioner Julie Su has announced a judgment in favor of two live-in workers for wages, overtime, and meal breaks against Alexen Corporation, which runs facilities in San Lorenzo and Antioch for developmentally disabled adults.

For years, Alexen had paid the two employees a daily rate while requiring them to remain on duty through meals and to be available through the night. After investigating the workers’ complaints, the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (Division) awarded them:

  • $180,076 in underpaid regular wages and overtime;
  • $86,009 in ‘liquidated damages” (automatic doubling of underpaid minimum wage);
  • $34,832 interest; and
  • $13,177 in additional wages

This 2015 $314,124 award grew to $360,000 with two years of additional post-judgment interest.

As Labor Code 96.8 permits, the Division enforced this award through the state court, seizing monies deposited in Alexen’s bank accounts.

Commissioner Su’s press release asserted: “California is at the forefront of the fight

against wage theft, giving the Labor Commissioner tools to punish recalcitrant employers who steal their workers’ wages and refuse to pay even after the workers file a claim and win.”

Employers in all industries that pay hourly workers a daily flat rate without regard to the number of hours worked and to the applicable minimum wage, overtime, and break laws should consider this ruling a wake-up call. It is good sense for any business to regularly review its pay practices, thus taking care to comply with all applicable state and federal laws.  See also:

For more information, please contact one of our attorneys Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth, or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin

November 24, 2017