A janitorial company in Anaheim is being sued by the state of California for allegedly paying some 150 works just $400 monthly in wages over the past four years. As the Orange County Register reports, that is far below the minimum wage, which is why California Attorney General Xavier Becerra reports the firm has become a top priority for his office.
The janitorial firm reportedly serves an estimated 80 major retailers throughout Southern California, including Toys R Us, Burlington Coat Factory and JoAnne’s Fabrics. These retailers, however, are not accused of any wrongdoing because they contract the work to a Pennsylvania-based firm that specializes in subcontracting such services. As our employment law attorneys can explain, this kind of subcontracting arrangement is typical in the retail sector as well as others, as it shields them from wage-and-hour lawsuits. Wage theft and other claims are common in these industries, and affected workers range from janitors (as in this case) to garment workers.
But while the retailers did not directly employ the workers, Becerra was quoted by the Register as saying he hopes the lawsuit puts large retailers and other firms on notice about such practices. Even if workers aren’t getting a paycheck from the retailer, they are still working within their facilities and in furtherance of their business, and that may be grounds to establish some level of responsibility. Continue reading