A Santa Ana-based recycling company has been ordered to pay its workers more than $200,000 for doling out flat salaries in cash and then having employees work more than 40 hours a week in violation of overtime laws.
Garcia Recycling Center & Metals, Inc. has sites at 13862 Seaboard Circle in Garden Grove and 631 S. Main St. and 2429 W. McFadden Ave. in Santa Ana.
Federal investigators discovered Garcia employees received flat salaries in cash regardless of how many hours they worked and that the company failed to keep records of hours worked and of cash payments made to workers, all violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
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To resolve the government case, the company will pay $100,189 in back pay and an equal, additional amount in damages, totaling $200,378, to 15 employees, according to a Department of Labor statement.
“Some recycling industry employers may believe they fly under the radar of law enforcement agencies when it comes to paying workers a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” says Rodolfo Cortez, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s San Diego District Office, in the statement. “Our investigation of Garcia Recycling Centers & Metals proves them wrong. Employers who deny these workers their hard-earned wages create financial hardships for workers and their families.”
Cortez's department issued a press release in 2015 chronicling the high rates of wage and hour violations in Southern California’s recycling industry. More than 70 workers had been paid $275,000 in back wages in the first year of the division's ongoing education and enforcement initiative.
Need the Wage and Hour Division's help? Call toll free (866) 4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit www.dol.gov/whd.