Los Angeles, CA
A California labor lawsuit
has been filed by workers at the Port of Los Angeles against a distribution company, alleging the workers are owed millions of dollars in wages. The lawsuit claims that the defendant leases land from the city of Los Angeles and therefore must pay a “living wage” instead of the minimum wage.
According to a press release, the lawsuit was filed against California Cartage and SSI Staffing in Los Angeles County Superior Court in December. The plaintiffs allege that because California Cartage leases land from the city of Los Angeles, it is subject to Los Angeles’ Living Wage Ordinance. Under the Living Wage Ordinance, workers for companies operating under certain license agreements are owed at least $11.03 an hour if they receive medical benefits and $12.28 an hour if they don’t receive medical benefits. Additionally, they are to be given 12 paid days off per year.
The workers allege, however, that they are paid between $9.00 and $10.20 an hour, receive no health benefits and are given as little as four paid days off per year. They further allege that they are not paid for days when they report to work but are sent home and are not always paid overtime when their shifts run long, according to the Los Angeles Times
California Cartage reportedly subcontracted its staffing to SSI Staffing, with approximately 80 percent of the workers employed by temporary agencies such as SSI Staffing.
In its documentation of the Living Wage Ordinance
, the city of Los Angeles notes that low pay has a negative effect on the quality and quantity of services rendered while fostering “high turnover, absenteeism, and lackluster performance.” The city further notes that not receiving a living wage makes it difficult for workers to live in Los Angeles.
As such, the Living Wage Ordinance requires certain firms to pay an hourly wage above minimum wage and provide a minimum number of paid days off per year. The ordinance covers not only contractors but also subcontractors.
The lawsuit could cover more than 500 workers and involve millions of dollars in unpaid wages, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Companies that are found in violation of Los Angeles’ Living Wage Ordinance could face a lawsuit filed by employees. Employees could receive back pay, attorney’s fees and damages for willful violations of the ordinance.