Feuer Goes After Carl’s Jr. for Wage Theft

June 29, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Monday that he is taking legal action against the Carl’s Jr. fast-food chain for alleged wage theft.

The company is accused of failing to pay 37 workers at seven of its Los Angeles locations the minimum wage of $10.50 per hour from July through December of last year.

Carl’s Jr. is facing a possible total of $1.45 million in restitution and penalties. Feuer said the alleged lost wages totaled over $5,000, but a fine is assessed each day the wage is unpaid, and the company is also facing more fines for allegedly failing to allow investigators access to employees and for not posting required signage about minimum wage laws.

“L.A. law is clear: Employees must be paid at least the minimum wage. Anything less is a slap in the face to workers struggling to make ends meet. This is a major corporation that should know the rules,” Feuer said. “Our offices will always aggressively stand up for workers to ensure they get the wages they’re owed, and all the protections and benefits the law demands.”

Feuer said the case stemmed from a complaint made by a Carl’s Jr. employee, which triggered an investigation by the city’s Office of Wage Standards.

Carl’s Jr. did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

“The minimum wage is a legally established threshold below which employers may not venture to pay their workers,” said John Reamer, who oversees the Office of Wage Standards as head of the Bureau of Contract Administration. “The minimum wage was established to ensure economic equity and opportunity, and the Office of Wage Standards will continue to partner with the city attorney to regulate and enforce compliance with the law.”

Feuer said that Carl’s Jr. sent his office documentation Monday showing it had paid its workers for the lost wages and that his office was still working to verify the paperwork.

The money Carl’s Jr. is being ordered to pay is $910,010 in penalties to the 37 employees no later than July 24, and $541,423 in penalties and fines for allegedly violating the minimum wage law, failing to post the required notice at two locations and failing to provide investigators access to interview employees at two locations.

Feuer said Carl’s Jr. has a right to appeal the legal action, but failure to make payments could result in a civil action or a lien against Carl’s Jr. properties in the city alleged to be involved in the wage theft.

Workers Back Anti-Wage Theft Bill

August 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Janitors, housekeepers, airline and restaurant workers were among participants supporting legislation to end wage theft at a town hall meeting Friday in Highland Park at Franklin High School.

Senate leader Kevin de Leon spoke about his legislation, SB 588, the Fair Day’s Pay Act, which he said would strengthen the State Labor Commissioner’s ability to collect wages owed to employees.

Lea este artículo en Español: Trabajadores Apoyan Legislación Contra el Robo de Salarios

Hard working employees shouldn’t have to go hungry or live in crowded places because they don’t earn enough, said De Leon, who represents Highland Park, Vernon and Boyle Heights.

“It is criminal that [business owners] have stolen those wages from you,” he told the gathering. “Why? Because you have to pay your bills, your children’s education. You need your money to survive!”

Senator Kevin de Leon (center) with workers after the town hall meeting in Franklin High School in support of SB 588. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Senator Kevin de Leon (center) with workers after the town hall meeting in Franklin High School in support of SB 588. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

In California, one in three workers is paid less than the minimum wage and every week in Los Angeles about $26.5 million in wage theft violations occur, according to the California Fair Paycheck Coalition.

Long lines, language barriers and the potential loss of paid work days prevent many employees from filing claims to regain lost wages, according to De Leon. The government’s existing system for collecting unpaid wages is also complex and ineffective, making it harder for workers and easier for bad employers to get away with not paying their employees what’s owed.

Those who do file a claim and win, according to the coalition, are rarely compensated.

“Five out of six workers who win their theft cases never see a dime” due to the complexity of the process, says the coalition.

“This is a situation happening every day in California and employers have been getting away with it,” SEIU President David Huerta told EGP.

Examples of wage theft include employers who pay less than minimum wage or who pay workers for fewer hours than worked, as well as employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors or who do not pay over-time as required by law.

“This issue gets worse with undocumented workers because they become silent victims,” Huerta said.

A 2010 University of California, Los Angeles Labor Center study found that local low-wage workers are robbed of about $1 billion in wages each year.

The harm caused by wage theft is not just financial, but also poses a health and wellbeing risk to workers in low-wage jobs and their families with poor living conditions, said Fabiola Santiago, a researcher with the Human Impact Partners.

“When workers experience wage theft they don’t have money to put healthy food on their table,” that leads to anxiety, stress and depression, she said. “Income is the strongest determination of health,” she added.

It’s time to put legal protections in place so workers’ wages are not stolen and “they can live a better life, for themselves and for their children,” De Leon told EGP.

“Life is hard enough, but having your wages stolen by big corporations is criminal,” the senator said.

SB 588 targets businesses that owe money to employees. Supporters say it will reduce abuse of corporate laws by not allowing businesses to hide behind sub-contractors or by changing their name. If passed, SB 588 would give the labor commissioner the power to collect wages owed to workers.

De Leon’s goal is to get the bill passes in the Assembly and on the governor’s desk by September.

Following the meeting, workers marched to the El Super store on York Boulevard in Highland Park, which was recently fined by the State Labor Commission violations of worker safety and wage laws.

—-

Twitter @jackieguzman

jgarcia@egpnews.com

 

Copyright © 2017 Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews, Inc. ·