Repeat Labor Code Offenders.

Last year I had the opportunity to represent a couple who worked for a rather large bakery for close to two years. These two young Hispanic workers were cheated out of the overtime they worked by their employer. Once we contacted the employer I was surprised to encounter a rather self righteous person who seemed to think that the two workers were lucky just to have a job with her. She also seemed to think that the immigration status of the employees somehow could be used as a defense for her and her company’s violations of the labor code. The case eventually settled and resulted in a confidential agreement and I assumed that was the end of my dealing s with this particular employer. However, just this weekend I was approached by other employees of the same company who are also being denied overtime wages and rest breaks! This time the company has gone as far as even paying the workers portion of their earning (without additions for overtime) in a separate check without any deductions. So now we not only have violations of overtime and rest/break laws, but the employer has also ventured into the world of violating Labor Code Section 226 which requires a pay stub and a statement be provided to the employee showing all deductions.

Having been hired by the employees affected I intend to do my best to preserve and protect their rights; however, I am rather disappointed to see that this particular employer has not learned his/her lesson. In criminal law an offender with a prior record gets enhanced sentencing for new violations. Should we apply the same standard to violators of the Labor Code too? If we did then that threat might act a deterrent to many employers who simply violate the law because they know they can’t be caught for each violation.

Last year I had the opportunity to represent a couple who worked for a rather large bakery for close to two years. These two young Hispanic workers were cheated out of the overtime they worked by their employer. Once we contacted the employer I was surprised to encounter a rather self righteous person who seemed to think that the two workers were lucky just to have a job with her. She also seemed to think that the immigration status of the employees somehow could be used as a defense for her and her company’s violations of the labor code. The case eventually settled and resulted in a confidential agreement and I assumed that was the end of my dealing s with this particular employer. However, just this weekend I was approached by other employees of the same company who are also being denied overtime wages and rest breaks! This time the company has gone as far as even paying the workers portion of their earning (without additions for overtime) in a separate check without any deductions. So now we not only have violations of overtime and rest/break laws, but the employer has also ventured into the world of violating Labor Code Section 226 which requires a pay stub and a statement be provided to the employee showing all deductions.

Having been hired by the employees affected I intend to do my best to preserve and protect their rights; however, I am rather disappointed to see that this particular employer has not learned his/her lesson. In criminal law an offender with a prior record gets enhanced sentencing for new violations. Should we apply the same standard to violators of the Labor Code too? If we did then that threat might act a deterrent to many employers who simply violate the law because they know they can’t be caught for each violation.