Labor law violations were behind this recent victory for Bay Area residential care facility workers and nursing home workers. The 1,300 workers receiving the $6.8 million in wages were not paid correctly, as mandated by California labor laws, between 2011 and 2014. Accordingly, the U.S. Department of Labor went to bat for these workers and successfully recovered the wages they should have been paid.
The recovered money was actually funds that would have gone towards paying basic living expenses for those employees. The workers did not complain because they were not aware of their rights or were afraid of coming forward and perhaps losing their jobs.
Violations documented included non-payment for overnight work, not providing proper sleeping quarters, working up to 14 hours a day, but only be paid for eight hours, being paid a flat weekly salary despite working more than 40 hours a week, thus not paying overtime as required by law. Cheating workers out of wages means a facility may lower its cost of service to residents and thus be less competitive.
Many of the workers were not paid overtime or federal minimum wages. All monies recovered were earmarked for the workers. As a result of such a stunning coup, Bay Area employers are beginning to comply with the laws and realize that there are laws in place dictating how their employees must be paid. There is no excuse for not paying a worker according to the law.
Those that are caught short-changing workers do eventually pay the piper when the government catches up with them. It is best to pay the required wages now rather than have to pay a large lump sum of back wages for a number of years.
If you work in a position that does not pay you the required minimum wage, does not pay overtime worked or asks you to stop the clock and continue working, you need to speak to a skilled employment attorney. These actions are illegal and you are entitled to a fair wage by law.