Many low-wage workers who won judgments were never paid

Thousands of the mainly immigrant workers in California never collected claims for back pay and labor law penalties from their employers, a study says.

June 27, 2013|By Marc Lifsher
Over a recent three-year period, thousands of mainly immigrant workers in California who clean buildings, pick crops, wash cars, sew garments and perform other minimum- and low-wage jobs won monetary judgments against their employers but were never paid, according to a new study to be released Thursday by the National Employment Law Project and the UCLA Labor Center. Above, workers in an American Apparel factory in South Gate in April 2012.
Over a recent three-year period, thousands of mainly immigrant workers… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

SACRAMENTO — Anita Herrera spent years cleaning offices in San Diego, but her boss never gave her a legally required lunch and rest break during a seven-hour shift.

When she eventually asked for a breather, her employer cut her hours. So, in 2009, Herrera filed a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office. Investigators corroborated the allegation and got a court order requiring her former employer to pay her $20,000 in penalties for the wage-and-hour law violations. Even so, she never got a cent.

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