Three restaurant companies based in Southern California will have to pay nearly $500,000 to settle claims that they systematically underpaid workers in violation of Los Angeles County’s minimum wage ordinance. The ordinance since 2016 has required companies in unincorporated Los Angeles County – regardless of size – to increase wages annually through each July through 2021, when it will be $15/hourly.
As our L.A. wage theft attorneys understand it, county investigators with the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs discovered the restaurant corporations underpaid nearly 100 workers going back at least three years. Although the companies were reportedly in compliance with state minimum mandatory wage laws, they did not comply with the local ordinance. A representative from one of the restaurants said it was a misunderstanding, as two of the 19 locations owned by the companies are technically located in unincorporated L.A. County, despite having mailing addresses in the incorporated municipalities. While the state minimum wage for workers was $12 or $13 hourly (depending on the size of the company), the county’s minimum wage was $14.25. When the mistake was discovered, the spokesman said the companies immediately moved to rectify it.
County investigators said whether it was an honest mistake or the motives were more insidious, employers have a responsibility to pay their employees fairly. When they do not, there are consequences. Continue Reading ›