When a California worker takes on a paying job, he or she is offering to put their time and abilities toward helping an employer accomplish their goals. In return, the employer offers payment for services rendered. Both the federal and California state governments have established minimum hourly pay rates as a means to ensure employees receive an acceptable amount of compensation for their efforts. Labor laws provide that all employees must receive wages at or above mandated minimums.
Recently, the United States Department of Labor required a car restoration company to pay out in excess of $157,000 due to wage and hour violations. An investigation carried out by the department determined that West Coast Customs of Corona failed to fairly compensate 45 of its employees. The violations went on for more than two years, from toward the end of 2010 to early 2013.
If the company name sounds familiar, it may be because they were featured on cable television shows and even in a video game. Yet, for all that notoriety, they were still found lacking in the area of employee payment.
The DOL maintains that the workers were misclassified as independent contractors. In turn, they were paid weekly salaries rather than the hourly and overtime wages for which they were eligible. Based on the hours they worked and the overtime they were denied, some of the employees received in the range of $6 per hour. California’s minimum wage currently stands at $8 per hour.
The aforementioned $157,000 will go toward back wages for the workers. In addition, the company will pay civil penalties in the amount of nearly $17,000. An official for the DOL states that West Coast Customs has corrected the violations and is now fully in compliance.
Anyone who works at a job in good faith is acting in a manner that contributes to society as a whole. For that contribution, people should be able to count on receiving a fair level of payment. If you are an employee in California, then you are entitled to receive the state mandated $8 per hour minimum wage.
If you are being paid less than the minimum rate, you may consider seeking back wages from your employer. Having a California labor attorney represent you in such an effort may help you recover the money you have earned and deserve.
Source: The Press Enterprise, “West Coast Customs fined by for unpaid wages,” Jack Katzanek, April 23, 2014