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Chino warehouse operator ordered to pay workers $1 million in OT

January 28, 2013|By Marc Lifsher
  • Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart (Paul Sakuma / Associated…)

SACRAMENTO -- State labor regulators have ordered a Chino warehouse operator to pay more than $1 million in overtime plus $200,000 in penalties for hundreds of state labor law violations.

State Labor Commissioner Julie Su issued citations Monday to Quetico, a warehouse and distribution company that handles shoes, apparel and electronic goods for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other big-box retailers.

The commissioner's investigation of two Quetico facilities, totaling a half-million square feet, found that the company created restrictive procedures which shorted 865 workers of their wages. Employees were forced to come to work early to stand in long lines to punch time cards at only three available clocks, the state said.

Employees also were denied legally required lunch and rest breaks, the state said.

"Wage theft takes many forms," Su said in a statement.

"My office will crack down on any employer who is taking hard-earned wages from workers by falsifying time cards and systematically preventing employees from taking a full meal break.... We are also intent on eliminating the competitive advantages that labor law violators gain over employers who play by the rules."

Quetico did not respond to a request for comment on the alleged labor law violations.

Quetico's warehouses also have been cited by state agencies for safety violations  in the last year, according to Warehouse Workers United, a union-backed group that has been campaigning to highlight alleged labor abuses at Inland Empire distribution centers used by Wal-Mart and other retailers.

"Many of the problems that we commonly see in Southern California warehouses are concentrated at this warehouse," said Guadalupe Palma, the group's director.


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