VAN NUYS – On March 24, 2021, the Labor Commissioner’s Office announced it has cited G & D Investments, Inc. dba Baja Fresh, seven other legal entities and their CEOs $375,806 for wage theft violations affecting 188 workers. According to the Labor Commissioner’s Office, the Westlake Village-based corporations operated multiple Baja Fresh restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area where a group of cooks and cashiers worked without proper pay.
The Labor Commissioner’s Office found that the employers established a different corporation to run each restaurant but shared employees between locations. This resulted in employees working without proper pay for all hours worked, including overtime and double time. Workers were also not provided proper meal and rest breaks, and were not paid split shift premiums for working two shifts in a day.
“Employers cannot move workers between business locations in order to avoid paying them legally-owed wages,” said California Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower. “Our investigation determined these purportedly separate corporations are a single enterprise and jointly liable for the wage theft violations.”
The Labor Commissioner’s Office opened an investigation in May 2018 after receiving a referral from community-based organizations Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles and Bet Tzedek Legal Services. The investigation found that from February 2017 to May 2018, the restaurant workers experienced wage theft violations. The 188 workers are due $375,806 in unpaid wages.
“It is important that we have a state department that investigates claims on behalf of workers, whether it be financial or safety,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “These investigations protect workers and hold employers accountable if there are labor law violations.”
The citations include $72,333 in minimum wages, $93,928 in overtime wages, $7,493 in split shift premiums, $88,807 in meal and rest period premiums, $7,035 in waiting time penalties, $105,270 in liquidated damages and $940 in non-payment of contract wages only for the corporate entities, all of which are payable to workers.
The following corporations and their CEOs are jointly and severally liable for the wage theft citations:
- G& D Management, Inc.
- G & D Management – La Brea, Inc.
- G & D Management – Orange, Inc.
- G & D Investments – Miracle Mile, Inc.
- G & D Investments – Santa Monica, Inc.
- G & D Investments – Museum Square, Inc.
- G & D Investments – West L.A., Inc.
- G & D Investments – Hollywood, Inc.
The corporations and individuals have appealed the citations. Under the appeal procedure, the Labor Commissioner’s Office will hold a hearing before a Hearing Officer who will affirm, modify or dismiss the citations.