SAN DIEGO - Gerald Como, doing business as Family Residential Care LLC and Del Cerro Assisted Living in Southern California, must pay 15 workers more than $1.1 million dollars for violating overtime and minimum wage laws, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR).
The California Labor Commissioner’s Office, an enforcement division within DIR, launched an investigation in July 2015 after receiving an anonymous tip. Investigators found the residential care business was in violation of minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the California Labor Code.
"Investigators at the Labor Commissioner's Office protect workers from harm," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "They work to uncover employers who are not paying their employees by the letter of the law. People work hard to earn a living and take care of their families."
According to a DIR press release, the employer paid the 15 caregivers less than $4.00 an hour for 24-hour shifts five days a week. The workers, most of whom had recently emigrated from the Philippines, were obliged to sleep in the rooms with their patients and pay their employer $180 each week for food and lodging.
The employer must pay the 15 workers
- $331,843 in lost minimum wages,
- $386,602 in overtime wages and
- $393,158 in liquidated damages.
When workers are paid less than minimum wage they are entitled to liquidated damages, which equal the amount of underpaid wages plus interest. The caregivers’ back wages owed range from $4,326 to $45,401 depending on the amount of time worked.
“Caregivers who serve our elderly and disabled perform some of the most important and valuable work in our state and often work long hours to do so,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. “Paying them for all of the hours they work is not only the fair thing to do, it is required by law.”