LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The state Labor Commissioner’s Office has issued more than $7 million in citations to the operator of six adult care facilities in the west San Fernando Valley to settle allegations of wage theft and other labor law violations.
Adat Shalom Board & Care Inc. was ordered to settle underpaid wages and penalties to 149 former and current employees who provided care to elderly residents 24 hours a day, six days a week, according to the Labor Commissioner’s Office. For years, the caregivers were paid less than $3 an hour for their work.
“Adult care facilities require caregivers to work around the clock, making workers in this industry vulnerable to wage theft and exploitation,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. “We encourage other residential caregivers to speak up and report wage theft if they are not paid for the work they do.”
The Labor Commissioner’s Office opened its investigation in June after receiving a report of labor law violations from the Pilipino Workers Center. The investigation determined that from July 2014 to last July, the caregivers at the six facilities in West Hills operated by Adat Shalom were paid less than the minimum wage for each hour they worked, Su said.
The investigation also found that workers were not paid overtime for working 24-hour shifts, six days a week, and were not allowed to take meal or rest breaks, according to the labor commissioner. The caregivers were further provided pay stubs that withheld key information such as hourly rate of pay and total number of hours worked, her office reported.
The live-in caregivers were responsible for monitoring and caring for elderly residents and hospice patients, many of them suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The workers were paid fixed amounts ranging from $1,500 to $1,800 per month, or $2.40 to $2.88 per hour.
The citations issued against Adat Shalom Board & Care include $2,272,343 for underpayment of minimum wages, $1,871,990 in overtime wages, $128,196 for meal period violations, and $2,689,907 in liquidated damages, according to the commissioner’s office.
When workers are paid less than minimum wage, they are entitled to liquidated damages that equal the amount of underpaid minimum wages plus interest. In addition to the money for the workers, $174,600 in civil penalties were levied for nonpayment of overtime and minimum wages, meal period violations, as well as for failing to provide workers accurate itemized wage statements with their paychecks.
The civil penalties collected will be transferred to the State’s General Fund, as required by law.