On August 24th, 2013

Enforcing Labor Laws, It’s Their Business Labor Enforcement Task Force Investigates Sacramento Landscaping Company

If an employer is falsifying records and underpaying employees, there is a group of state investigators who are sure to uncover it.  California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members who are agents and investigators with the state of California combine their resources and crack down on  businesses that do not comply with the law.

The California Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF), a multi-agency group formed to combat the underground economy,  investigated complaints involving Michael Mello, owner of the Sacramento company Green Valley Landscaping Services.  As a result of that investigation,  the California Labor Commissioner cited the Sacramento landscaping company $664,764 for wage theft violations.  As many as 43 employees were victims of wage theft from August 9, 2010 to August 8, 2013.

The sanctions against Michael Mello included minimum wage violations of $338,176 for over 40 employees, $169,088 in unpaid overtime, and $157,500 for failure to provide itemized wage statements as required under California law.

"Protecting California's economy and protecting workers, that's what these investigators and agents do as part of this task force," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona.  "Any company that underpays its workers and falsifies reports  to the state is hurting hardworking families, legitimate businesses and the state of California."

According to the investigation, Green Valley landscaping was using a work force of up to 43 employees while reporting less than 10 employees on its payroll. The wage theft investigation subsequently uncovered evidence that the rest of the workforce was misclassified as independent contractors. In California, businesses must meet certain criteria to legally classify their workers as independent contractors.

 LETF includes investigators with the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), Employment Development Department (EDD), Contractors State License Board (CSLB),  Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), to name a few.

"Protecting California's economy and protecting workers, that's what these investigators and agents do as part of this task force," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona.  "Any company that underpays its workers and falsifies reports  to the state is hurting hardworking families, legitimate businesses and the state of California."

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