Federal investigators have recovered $106,245 in unpaid overtime wages and liquidated damages for 50 vending machine workers with Parks Coffee California who were not paid for working through all or part of their lunch breaks.
According to a report in The Press-Enterprise, investigators with the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found Parks Coffee California Inc. violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The vending machine company was caught making automatic one-hour lunch break deductions even though employees had to work through their breaks.
Wage and Hour Violations
The company, which supplies and operates beverage vending machines, also violated overtime requirements by failing to document and include bonuses and commissions in workers’ rate of pay when they worked more than 40 hours in one workweek. Investigators recovered $53,122 in back wages and $53,122 in damages for 50 workers. The company, which is based in Texas, has offices in Santa Fe Springs and operates gourmet vending machines in offices throughout the greater Los Angeles and San Diego areas, the report states.
Meal Break and Overtime Laws
In California, overtime law governs the wages and hours of all non-exempt or hourly employees working in the state. California has strong protections for workers in this regard. Under these laws, employers must pay all eligible workers additional pay for work done in excess of the standards eight hours a day or 40 hours in a workweek.
All hourly or non-exempt employees who qualify for overtime must be paid 1.5 times the regular rate for hours worked more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. They must be paid double time or twice their regular pay rate if they work more than 12 hours in a workday or in excess of eight hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek.
Also, under California wage and hour law, non-exempt employees must receive 30-minute lunch or meal breaks if they work more than five hours daily. This break must be provided within the first five hours of the workday. Employees don’t have to use their meal breaks only for eating. That time is theirs to be spent as they wish. Employees should be compensated for that time if they are asked to work through a meal break.
If you believe your employer owes you unpaid wages, you must contact an experienced Los Angeles wage and hour attorney to obtain more information about pursuing your rights. You may be able to receive fair compensation for your losses and hold your employer accountable.