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U.S. Department of Labor Finds Overtime and Transportation Safety Violations by Oceanside, California, Agricultural Company
By Sentinel News Service
Published February 15, 2019

After a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation, Sundance Natural Foods Company – based in Oceanside, California – will pay $13,641 in back wages to 45 employees for unpaid overtime as a result of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act (MSPA). Additionally, the company was assessed $5,130 in civil penalties.

WHD investigators found the employer violated MSPA requirements by failing to provide safe transportation for employees. Violations included failing to provide working seatbelts in employer-provided transportation, failing to obtain California Highway Patrol certification for a vehicle carrying more than nine passengers, and employing a driver without the required Class B license to drive an 11-passenger vehicle.

WHD investigators also found that the employer violated overtime requirements of the FLSA when it failed to record or pay for time packing shed employees spent putting on required work equipment prior to their shifts and removing this equipment after their shifts. The employer also failed to pay overtime to one non-exempt, salaried employee who worked over 40 hours per week. Failure to record all hours employees worked, and failure to maintain documentation of the date of birth of a minor employee, also violated FLSA recordkeeping requirements.

“The laws we enforce not only ensure that employees are paid what they have legally earned, they also keep farm workers safe on the job,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Rodolfo Cortez, in San Diego. “We encourage all employers to contact us for assistance, and to use the wide variety of tools we offer to help them understand the law and avoid violations.”

Employers that discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.

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