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California Employers in Trouble for Not Paying Overtime

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Los Angeles, CA: California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr has filed a lawsuit alleging that a California farm labor contractor did not pay his employees minimum wage and overtime as required by California labor law. The contractor, Juan Munoz, is also accused of not providing rest breaks, drinking water or shade to people who worked in the fields.

California Employers in Trouble for Not Paying OvertimeState law requires that employees who work more than 10 hours a day be paid overtime. Furthermore, if employees have fewer than eight hours off between shifts, they must be paid for an additional hour of work.

The lawsuit was filed after Brown's office made a routine visit to a Southern California onion farm where Munoz's employees work. In interviews conducted on site, employees said they were not given rest breaks or potable drinking water and were not trained to recognize and prevent heat exhaustion.

Munoz is accused of committing "potentially deadly" worker safety violations.

"In the scorching summer months, farm work can be dangerous if workers aren't given rest breaks, shade and drinking water," Brown said. "We have no tolerance for contractors like Munoz who deny their workers a fair wage and subject them to potentially deadly working conditions."

The Attorney General's statement cites the case of Feliciano and Sonia Sepulveda, who worked between 14 and 16 hours in a day, slept in the fields and worked split shifts without proper pay. When they went to collect their pay, they found that Munoz had rounded it down to the lower dollar amount.

According to Claims Journal on 3/10/10, the employees often worked 70 hours a week and were paid by the number sacks of onions they harvested. The lawsuit seeks civil penalties, restitution for the workers and other legal costs.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit has been filed against David Weyrich's Carlton Hotel Investments LLC, alleging that the owner of the hotel failed to pay minimum wage, overtime, and wages when they were due. The lawsuit states that Weyrich owes $300,000 in penalties and an additional $150,000 in unpaid wages and overtime. According to the 3/09/10 edition of the San Luis Obispo Tribune, approximately 60 hotel employees were affected by the violations.

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