A food manufacturer in Santa Fe Springs was ordered to pay $650,000 in unpaid wages to 26 delivery drivers who were wrongly classified as independent contractors and, as a result, were wrongly exempt from overtime pay.
An April ruling by the United States District Court for the Central District of California also prohibits: Romero’s Food Products Co., Ltd. We will prevent future violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The lawsuit follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage Hours Division that found that drivers were denied overtime pay if they worked more than 40 hours during the normal work week. That’s all. The survey covered the period from October 16, 2017 to October 15, 2022.
A representative for Romero’s Food Products could not be reached for comment.
Drivers were employed to deliver the company’s food to Walmart, Costco, Albertsons, Stater Brothers and other grocery retailers throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and Washington.
An investigation found that Romero did not maintain accurate employee records.
Gayane Alexanian, assistant director of the Wages and Hours Office in West Covina, said fighting employee misclassification is a priority for the department.
“Employers, as independent contractors, illegally pay delivery drivers and cannot defend violations as a common practice in the industry,” Alexanian said in a statement. “The misclassification of employees deprives them of their fundamental rights under labor law.”
Investigators said Romero coerced many workers into agreeing to handle potential labor disputes out of court.
Employees who believe they may be behind on wages or employers with questions about wage issues can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-487-9243. Additional information is available at: dol.gov/agency/whd/wow.
https://www.ocregister.com/2023/06/07/food-company-ordered-to-pay-650000-in-unpaid-overtime-wages/ Romero’s Food Orders $650,000 in Unpaid Wages to 26 Drivers – Orange County Registrar