Caregivers are among the most unsung workers throughout California. Tasked with helping people who need significant attention, these workers face physical and emotional strain in doing their jobs. To make their circumstances more difficult, these are some of the most exploited workers across the nation. Vulnerable to unpaid wages and other types of mistreatment, residential care workers should be fully aware of their rights to get what is owed. One recent case shows just how problematic this situation can be while also giving hope to those who have faced employment law violations.
Facility owes workers more than $8.5 million
Workers at a residential care facility were underpaid by a substantial amount with some getting as littles as $2.40 per hour. According to one worker, her job required that five elderly people be cared for over 24 consecutive hours. This was a common practice for many employees who were on the job six days per week and received payment for only six of the 24 hours. A ruling by the California Labor Commissioner in 2018 said that the then-owner of the facility and the facility itself were obligated to pay more than $8.5 million. That decision was recently upheld.
The facility has since been sold. A vast chunk of that award was to be paid for 148 workers who were not paid their full wages and denied overtime. They are also set to receive damages. These payments have not yet been made as the then-owner could file an appeal of this decision. However, if there is an appeal and the case is brought to civil court, the former owner is still required to pay a bond of more than $6 million. Since many of these workers were immigrants from the Philippines, it highlights the potential for mistreatment of foreign workers who might not be fully cognizant of the labor laws and their options if they are not being paid their full wages, overtime and receiving other benefits.
Holding employers accountable for proper wages may require legal guidance
It is unfortunate that even as employee rights are receiving greater attention, there continue to be employers who try to take advantage of workers. Employees have fundamental rights in California and there are ways to get what is owed. That includes minimum wage, overtime, payment for any work that was done when off the clock, being properly classified, getting overtime and more. Workers might be reluctant to complain due to fear of retribution. That is a mistake. For assistance with wage and hour disputes, it is important to consult with those who are experienced in these cases to pursue a claim as soon as possible.