Los Angeles—California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su issued citations totaling more than $1.5 million to two janitorial companies for multiple wage theft violations. The investigation found that the two companies, which worked together to supply janitorial services in Los Angeles and Orange counties, intentionally misclassified their staff of 52 janitorial workers as independent contractors.
The Labor Commissioner’s investigation determined that NLP Janitorial, Inc. of Van Nuys and Coast to Coast West, Inc. of Lees Summit, Missouri, failed to provide rest or meal breaks to employees, did not pay minimum wage or overtime wages and did not furnish itemized wage statements. Nine employees worked for both NLP Janitorial and Coast to Coast West; the other 43 worked for Coast to Coast West.
“Labor laws in California are intended to protect both workers and businesses. The Labor Commissioner’s office is dedicated to ensuring that those laws are followed so that honest workers and employers can flourish,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). The Labor Commissioner’s office is a division of DIR.
NLP Janitorial and Coast to Coast West provided cleaning services to clients including the Pacific Palms Conference Resort and Hylands Inn by Carmel; area theater chains the Regal, Regency, Edwards, Galaxy, Mann, and the LA Live complex; and Red Robin, Pei Wei and The Counter restaurants.
“It is important that those who hire contractors to perform work such as janitorial services be vigilant so that illicit contractors do not get the work in the first place,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. “We want to prevent violations from occurring and create a culture of compliance throughout California, and this requires diligence and commitment from those who make the decisions about who they engage as contractors.”
The citations issued include assessments to recover the minimum wages, overtime and other premiums due to their workers—most employees are owed $30,000 or more. The total amount to be returned to the workers is $1,775,765.
“There’s a high cost to unfair competition, and these 52 workers bore the brunt of it when their earned wages were stolen from them,” continued Labor Commissioner Su. “Honest janitorial employers struggling to compete against scofflaws also pay. They shouldn’t have to and that’s why my office is cracking down on wage theft and misclassification.”
Citations were issued to Nicole Pascariello, CEO of NLP Janitorial Inc., NLP managers Hugo Miranda and Luis A. Castro; and Robert L. Winters, CEO of Coast to Coast West, Inc. Winters was assessed $1,783,266 and the others were each assessed $210,507. The assessments are intended to recover unpaid wages and premiums for the impacted janitorial workers over a one-year period.
Coast to Coast West employees told the Labor Commissioner’s office that they were paid by Pascariello and their work was supervised by Miranda, who controlled their work hours and wages. NLP misclassified its employees as independent contractors and had them sign contracts in order to work. The Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund (MCTF) was instrumental in bringing information on this wage theft case to the Labor Commissioner’s Office.
Among its wide-ranging enforcement responsibilities, the Labor Commissioner’s office inspects workplaces for wage and hour violations, adjudicates wage claims, enforces prevailing wage rates and apprenticeship standards in public works projects, investigates retaliation complaints, issues licenses and registrations for businesses and educates the public on labor laws.
Source: CA Department of Industrial Relations
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