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California Labor Commissioner’s Office reaches $5.5M Settlement for Wage Theft Lawsuit

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Assisted Living Facility Caregivers Adat Shalom Board and Care Inc. will be compensated $5.5 million to settle a wage theft lawsuit, thanks to the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.

Los Angeles, CAThanks to the California Labor Commissioner’s Office (LCO), 148 caregivers who worked at Adat Shalom Board and Care Inc. will finally be compensated for California Labor wage theft allegations. A $5.5 million settlement has been reached after a lengthy investigation into wage theft found that Adat Shalom’s six adult residential care facilities in the west San Fernando Valley paid its caregivers less than minimum wage. Some live-in caregivers were actually paid less than $3 per hour.

Wage Theft Investigation

After receiving a report of labor law violations from the Pilipino Workers Center, the LCO launched a seven-year investigation into the residential care and board facility. The investigation found that, from July 2014 to July 2017, the caregivers at the six facilities in West Hills were:
  • Paid less than the minimum wage for each hour they worked.
  • Not paid overtime for working 24-hour shifts, six days a week.
  • Not relieved from their duties to take meal or rest breaks.
  • Provided pay stubs that withheld key information such as hourly rate of pay and total number of hours worked.
The live-in caregivers were responsible for monitoring and caring for elderly residents and hospice patients, many of them suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. The caregivers were paid fixed amounts ranging from $1,500 to $1,800 per month, or $2.40 to $2.88 per hour.

In 2018, the LCO issued citations totaling $7,137,036 to the business and owner Angelica Reingold. The citations include $2,272,343 for underpayment of minimum wages, $1,871,990 in overtime wages, $128,196 for meal period violations, and $2,689,907 in liquidated damages. When workers are paid less than minimum wage, they are entitled to liquidated damages that equal the amount of underpaid minimum wages plus interest. In addition to the money for the workers, $174,600 in civil penalties were levied for nonpayment of overtime and minimum wages.

Reingold appealed the citations. After a 17-day hearing that involved 13 former live-in caregivers testimonies, the unpaid wages and penalties were upheld with some modifications.

In October 2021, the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations, announced in a news release that a hearing officer upheld the Labor Commissioner’s wage theft citations.

The Los Angeles Daily News reported that the 148 former workers would be paid more than $8.3 million after the wage theft investigation found employees were subjected to “oppressive” conditions: They cared for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as bedridden hospice patients and others in wheelchairs while earning as little as $2.40 an hour, without overtime compensation. Sinagtala Limbo told the newspaper that she was the only worker caring for dozens of patients. “I slept there, ate there, and at times, management physically prevented me from leaving the facility,” the former employee told investigators. “It took a lot of courage for us to speak up and initiate the investigation, but I am glad we did.”

Merril Aquino, employed at one of the facilities from 2015 to 2016, said it “was like slavery”. Aquilina Soriano Versoza, the Philipino Center’s executive director, said employees were able to sleep at certain times but they were still on call 24 hours a day, listening to monitors with their doors open so they could respond immediately. If they needed to leave for any reason, such as running to the store, they needed permission first.

On December 6, 2023, the workers were awarded $2 million. Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower said they will eventually be paid a total of $5.5 million dollars, making it the state’s largest judgment in a residential care facility wage theft case. 

The Adat Shalom Board and Care facilities have since rebranded as “Land of Peace”, still operating six houses in West Hills with a tag line “A Place for Mom” in a "small and intimate assisted living and board and care home nestled in the charming city of West Hills”.


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