Calexico, CA: While it didn’t get to the point of becoming a California labor lawsuit, a California furniture distributor nonetheless agreed to pay more than $120,000 in owed overtime wages to current and former employees following an investigation by the Office of the California Labor Commissioner.
According to a PR Newswire release (10/28/13), Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su launched the investigation following a complaint by an employee of Coppel Corporation, a distributor and warehouse in the state. The employee, according to the report, contacted the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) within the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) with regard to potential violations of California labor employment law.
Following the filing of a formal California labor code complaint with the DLSE’s Bureau of Field Enforcement (BOFE), it was determined by investigators following a review of payroll documents that employees had worked about two or three hours of overtime each week but were paid at their regular hourly rate - a violation of California and labor law.
Labor Commissioner Su was quick to point out that Coppel Corporation co-operated fully once the allegations came to light, undertaking a self-audit that eventually revealed the overtime wages discrepancy.
California prevailing wage law mirrors federal statues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that requires a rate of pay calculated at one and one-half times the regular hourly rate of pay for any hours worked beyond a standard 40-hour week, or any hours worked beyond the 5th consecutive day.
As a result of the California employee labor law investigation, Coppel will be paying $88,109 to 60 current employees, in addition to $33,613 destined for 83 former employees of the firm.
“This is an example of how effective labor law enforcement benefits everyone,” said Labor Commissioner Su, in a statement. “We encourage employers to cooperate during investigations, come into compliance, and make workers whole.”
A favorite ploy amongst employers attempting to cut expenses and improve their bottom line is to force employees to perform job-related tasks off the clock or incorrectly classify employees as exempt from qualifying for overtime - all tactics that flaunt California state labor laws.
This doesn’t appear to be the case here.
“We appreciate the employer for responsibly working with our investigators to bring a speedy resolution for these workers,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations.
Under the leadership of Su, the Office of the California Labor Commissioner has been aggressively pursuing alleged violations to California labor law, with numerous investigations culminating in a California labor lawsuit and ultimate compensation for workers.
In the end, however, it starts with an employee or group of employees keeping aware of the goings-on at their place of employ, and having the courage to speak up or lay a formal complaint in the face of an alleged violation to the California labor code.
Source from: http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/california_labor_law/california-labor-law-lawsuit-66-19255.html#.UoQmbkTMY0I