California state workplace regulators are seeking more than $17 million in back pay and fines in a lawsuit against ZipRealty for allegedly violating state minimum-wage and overtime laws, the Orange County Register reported on September 27, 2011. In a suit seeking at least $7.5 million in wages, $1.25 million in overtime and $9 million in penalties, the California Department of Industrial Relations claims that the real estate brokerage paid its real estate agent employees, “less than the minimum wage and no premium for overtime hours worked” because ZipRealty improperly classified is agents as outside contractors.
The Register reported that State Labor Commissioner Julie Su said in a statement, “We want the message to be clear: for employers who play by the rules we are on your side; employers who don’t play by the rules should be prepared to face the consequences of paying twice the amount of wages owed, as well as penalties and interest.” ZipRealty denied the charges, but state regulators noted that a Kern County judge recently awarded four former ZipRealty agents $330,000, “on the same claims now being asserted statewide by the Labor Commissioner,” according to the Register, although the state noted that in this case the state is contending, “ZipRealty real estate agents frequently received no pay at all.”
Do you have a similar claim as a result of violations of employment law? Contact our law firm to set up an initial consultation with a Los Angeles employment lawyer. And let us know how you feel about this case against ZipRealty. Do you think a Los Angeles employment attorney would stand a chance against a national real estate company?