They were way outside. In fact, this payroll company was so far away that they told employees the California labor law did not apply to them and they didn't have to pay overtime or Workers Compensation.
Salas worked as a plumber and a foreman, servicing restaurants and big chains such as Starbucks. Before he was hired, Salas checked out the company with The Better Business Bureau and found they had no complaints—a good place to work. But things soured.
"I worked at this company on and off for 10 years and the last stretch was for 16 months," says Salas. "They have a day crew and night crew—I was on nights, just two of us. We went into restaurants after they close for the night and open up the floor to replace piping (grease eats pipes) all over California and Arizona. We worked Sunday through Thursday, five nights a week.
"They were manipulating the pay stubs—sometimes I would work 80 hours but only get paid $16 per hour with no overtime. As time passed, things got worse. We would be called back to a job if someone complained--if they said it was our fault because the tile wasn't set right. They scratched the hours off our time cards and wrote in 'zero'.
For at least the past 16 months, Frassica apparently used another company to handle its payroll -- Independent Staff Solutions " From what I understand, they use these people so they can get around not paying overtime and California Workers Compensation," says Salas.
"They sent all of us employees a letter that stated the following:
'Since Independent Staff Solutions (ISS) is tribally-owned, it is a sovereign entity which means not all federal and state laws regarding employment are necessarily applicable....this employment requires that you give up or waive any rights you may have to sue for work related injuries, even if based on negligence by the employer.
"You are under no obligation to accept employment on these or any other terms and you are free to further investigate your right and any applicable laws at your own expense.
Recognition of the sovereign status of ISS is essential to your employment and no services may be performed and no wages paid unless you accept this agreement.'
Everyone I talked to in the company signed this letter, including me. If we didn't sign it we would get fired."
California labor law firmly states that EVERY employee is entitled to overtime pay. David Salas quit.
"Now I am Mr. Mom, staying home with my two-year-old and looking for another plumbing job. The work I did was unique so I might have to wait awhile to get another restaurant job. I filed for unemployment three days ago and I am going to send copies of all my check stubs to a lawyer I found on your website.
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Overtime Pay - The Department of Industrial Relations states that a California employer must pay overtime, whether for authorized or unauthorized overtime hours, at the following rates:
Overtime equals one and one half (1.5) times an employee's regular hourly rate of pay for hours worked over eight (8) in a workday or over forty (40) hours in a work week.
Double time equals two (2) times an employee's regular rate of pay for hours worked over twelve (12) in a workday or for hours over eight (8) on the seventh day of the work week.