Southern California Contractors Slapped with Lawsuit

A warehouse worker in Inland Empire in Southern California, the nation’s largest consumer goods distribution hub, claims he was asked to falsify employee time sheets for employees. Jorge Soto handles shipments for Walmart at a subcontracted company. He claims he was routinely asked by management to understate the amount of hours worked by employees to pay less than the state minimum of $8 an hour.

Soto and dozens of the wage workers filed a federal lawsuit in Southern California. Soto claims he was asked to do the dirty work for management, according to MSNBC.

“They wanted to wash their hands of it through me,” Soto said.

According to court reports, Soto and other crew leaders forced workers to sign blank time sheets so they were easy to manipulate. The workers are employed by third party labor force companies—the big box retailers (Walmart, Target, Foot Locker, etc.) are legally separated by a degree.

The lawsuit alleges that workers were often only paid for the time spent actually loading and unloading trucks, and the time they spent opening the facility and cleaning were unpaid hours. High temperatures in the warehouse and pressure from management to work faster created an unsafe working environment. Management used intimidation and fear tactics to manage the workers.

The California Division of the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) investigated four of the warehouses in the region and cited over 60 safety violations, resulting in $256,445 in fines.

The staffing companies are ultimately responsible for paying the employees, and will have to explain these wage disputes in court.

Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—California employment attorneys