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Wage Theft Settlement Reached for San Jose Burrito Chain

According to an announcement made by California’s State Department of Industrial Relations, Ares Law Group’s employment law attorneys have learned that Burrito Factory has agreed with state regulators to pay a one million dollar settlement after two hundred thirty-nine workers filed wage theft complaints.

In 2017, the Labor Commissioner’s Office in California, launched a formal investigation and ultimately found that restaurant workers allegedly received less than the mandatory California minimum wage due to the restaurant’s failure to adequately pay them for split shifts and overtime.

Additionally, according to the Labor Commissioner’s Office, the restaurant allegedly paid workers in cash, failed to offer legally-mandated breaks for meals, and were negligent with regard to maintaining accurate payroll records.

Julie Su, California’s Labor Secretary, stated during a news conference that a clear message is being sent that it is not merely optional for businesses to comply with California’s labor standards and the State will always be on the side of workers who come forward to demand pay to which they are entitled.

Negotiations for a settlement started in February following the restaurant’s claim that it was willing to comply with the labor laws of the State Which occurred after the establishment received citations.

The announcement was made several weeks after officials in the Santa Clara County orchestrated a crackdown on workplace mistreatments, such as the aforementioned wage theft. Additional funding was given to the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement in Santa Clara County. San Jose officials also recently spoke of expanding their policies on wage theft to encompass the construction field.

In July, 2019, employees will begin receiving compensation, and an additional $100,000.00 in civil penalties will be paid by the restaurant. The settlement agreement followed a series of investigations initiated by Julie Su’s office, a campaign entitled “Wage Theft is a Crime.”

If you believe you have been the victim of wage theft, we urge you to contact Ares Law Group’s employment attorneys in Orange County to assist you. With over 30 years of experience our employment lawyers have handled a variety of wage claim cases for overtime, meal and rest breaks, expense reimbursement and travel time.

What California’s Increasing Minimum Wage Means for Exempt Employees

What California’s Increasing Minimum Wage Means for Exempt Employees

Exempt Employees

Earlier this year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law which will increase California’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2022.  While the increase in minimum wage will obviously impact hourly, non-exempt employees, it will have a significant effect on the compensation and earnings of exempt employees as well.

For example, for an employee to be properly classified as exempt from overtime, the employee must satisfy the requirements of an established exemption (such as an executive or professional). Most exemptions require both the performance of certain duties and responsibilities and the payment of a minimum salary. In California, to qualify for the administrative, executive, or professional exemption, an employee must be paid no less than twice the State minimum wage. Today, this equates to an annual salary of $41,600.00. By 2022, that will rise to $62,400.00.Therefore, California’s increased minimum wage has a profound effect on all employees, not just those classified as non-exempt.

California law does not allow anyone to simply be classified as exempt without the payment of overtime. As an employment law attorney in Orange County I can tell you firsthand, misclassification of exempt employees is a common mistake among California employers, especially based on an employee’s duties. If it is determined an employee is misclassified as exempt, the employer must then compensate the employee for overtime hours(over 8 in a workday and over 40 in a worker) at a rate of time and a half their hourly rate of pay. Depending on the circumstances, an employer may then also be liable for the payment of meal and rest period premiums for such violations, and penalties for failure to timely pay wages and inaccurate itemized wage statements

If you have a questions regarding your classification as an exempt employee, and whether you meet either the salary or duties test to be exempt from overtime compensation, please contact the employment law attorneys at Ares Law Group who have substantial experience dealing with this and all types of employment issues.