SAN FRANCISCO - California Labor Commissioner Julie Su has cited American Airporter Shuttle, Inc., a San Francisco based airport van shuttle company, for multiple wage theft violations, following an investigation by her department. Department of Industrial Relations investigators discovered that drivers, who worked up to 100 hours each week, were illegally misclassified as independent contractors and earned no meal breaks or overtime. The drivers were also required to pay the costs of operating their vans, licensing, and airport transportation fees.
American Airporter must pay the workers $92,458.52 in lost wages, $91,926.58 for overtime wages, and $28,022.13 for meal periods. In addition, $8,050 in civil penalties is owed for failing to provide the workers itemized wage statements as well as minimum wage, meal periods and overtime violations.
"As someone who has worked for decades representing labor, I find this abuse of workers absolutely appalling," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association. "The Labor Commissioner and her team of investigators are doing a great job in finding company owners and operators who a ripping off hardworking individuals and their families."
The Labor Commissioner’s Office launched the investigation after receiving complaints from Asian Law Caucus, a legal and civil rights organization serving low-income Asian Pacific Americans. Investigators learned that the drivers had been required to sign independent contractor agreements in a language they did not understand. Their work shifts, passenger lists and actions were under strict control and surveillance by the owner-operator and dispatchers. American Airporter failed to provide the drivers itemized wage statements showing wages earned, hours worked, and other information required by law.
Worker misclassification results in an estimated loss of $7 billion each year in payroll tax revenue to the State. Employees misclassified as independent contractors are frequently underpaid and do not enjoy the on-the-job benefits and protections that are available to most workers. DIR protects and improves the health, safety and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners, and helps their employers comply with state labor laws.