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Take the Super out of El Super

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The California Labor Commissioner has slapped El Super grocery stores with over $1.1 million in fines for allegedly not providing or delaying sick leave to 240 workers.

Los Angeles, CANot once but twice has the California Labor Commissioner’s Office fined Bodega Latina (doing business as El Super) grocery stores for not providing or delaying supplemental paid sick leave or other benefits to 240 workers affected by COVID-19. In July Bodega Latina was fined $447,876 for similar California labor violations that affected 95 grocery store employees. Being fined twice begs the question: will conscientious consumers boycott El Super?

Following up on complaints from workers and the grocery store workers union--United Food and Commercial Workers International Union—the Labor Commissioner's Office began its investigations in September 2020. The agency says coworkers were not consistently informed of their rights to supplemental paid sick leave if affected by COVID-19.

The office found that:
  • Employees weren’t consistently informed of their rights to the supplemented sick leave benefit
  • Some sick workers were told that until they received their test results, they had to come into work even when they displayed COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Others were told to apply for unemployment while quarantining or in isolation
  • Additional workers had their sick leave denied or delayed
  • Others were told to seek unemployment or disability pay to cover isolation time
  • Some workers waited months to be paid
  • Some workers did not receive paid time off at all due to the virus

Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law

Garcia-Brower said, "Supplemental paid sick leave is a tool to protect our communities by stopping the spread of COVID-19 through the workplace."California's Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law that went into effect on March 29, 2021, required that California workers at businesses with more than 25 workers be provided up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave if they are affected by COVID-19. The Labor Commissioner's Office says it continues to enforce the law for any violations that occurred between Jan. 1, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2021, the period the law covered and If you have a claim for a violation of the law that occurred prior to December 31, 2020, your claim will be heard.

El Super’s Defense

Bodega Latina said it has appealed the citation. Bloomberg Law reported that spokesman Eric W. Rose El Super wrote in an email that he spent months attempting to work with the commissioner to show they’ve complied with the paid sick leave requirements and he alleged the citation was issued before the investigation was completed.

“The claims made in recent media reports referencing a citation from California Labor Commissioner regarding supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) are false,” Rose wrote. “We are, and have always been, committed to complying with labor laws. Rose went on. "The Labor Commissioner ignores that we have paid over $1.6 million in COVID-19 leave to our valued employees. The citations and the Labor Commissioners' press release are rich in heated invective and are not supported by the evidence, facts or the law…We are confident that when all the facts are known, we will prevail in Court.”

The Labor Commissioner’s Office released a list of the locations that were cited:

5702 Firestone Blvd, #1, South Gate. 263 9th St., #37, San Bernardino
5646 E. Whittier Blvd., #3, Commerce 1578 W. Base Line St., #38, San Bernardino
3405 E Cesar E Chavez Ave., # 4, Los Angeles 570 S Mount Vernon Ave, #39, San Bernardino
12727 Sherman Way, # 5, North Hollywood 14103 Ramona Blvd, #41, Baldwin Park
650 N Euclid St., #11, Anaheim 15202 Hawthorne Blvd, #43, Lawndale
1100 W Slauson Ave, #13, Los Angeles 1527 Mission Ave, #45, Oceanside
960 W. Arrow Highway, #14, Covina 120 W. Anaheim Street, #48, Wilmington
10531 S. Carmenita Rd, #16, Santa Fe Springs 450 Long Beach Blvd., #49, Long Beach
1301 E Gage Ave., #17, Los Angeles 1000 N Mountain Ave, #50, Ontario
5610 York Blvd, #18, Los Angeles 4421 University Ave, #51, San Diego
14601 Lakewood Blvd, #21, Paramount  9320 Slauson Ave, #54, Pico Rivera
1285 N. Hacienda Blvd., #24, La Puente 1212 Magnolia Ave, #56, Corona
3211 Firestone Blvd, #27, South Gate 5800 Van Buren Blvd, #57, Riverside
14590 Bear Valley Road, #28, Victorville 310 E Florence Ave, #58, Los Angeles
151 W. Lincoln Ave, #29, Escondido 81619 US Highway 125, #63, Indio
16950 Foothill Blvd, #31, Fontana  8601 Hooper Ave, #500, Los Angeles
9850 Sierra Ave,  #32, Fontana 7220 S Vermont Ave, #501, Los Angeles
24899 Alessandro Blvd, #34, Moreno Valley 1035 South La Brea Ave, #502, Inglewood
515 S Riverside Ave, #35, Rialto 1950 Sterling Ave, #A86, Ontario


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