CA Janitorial Firms Charged with Failing to Pay Regular Wages

December 20, 2007 ( - California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet and Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. have accused two janitorial contractors of failing to pay approximately 300 California janitorial workers proper wages and engaging in unfair business practices.

The joint lawsuit against Excell Cleaning & Building Services, Inc., and MO Restaurant Cleaning of California, Inc., seeks damages for unpaid wages and penalties going back to 2003, according to a press release from the Labor Commissioner’s office. Damages being sought could exceed $5 million.

An investigation by the labor commissioner found that the two companies:

  • failed to pay employees wages to which they were entitled on regularly established paydays,
  • failed to pay overtime and/or double-time, and f
  • ailed to provide meal and rest breaks as required by state labor law.

Employees were required to work from approximately 11:30 p.m. until 9 a.m., seven days a week, and were often paid a flat rate of $50 per day, the release said.

In addition, the labor commissioner found employees were being misclassified as independent contractors to avoid paying nearly $250,000 in payroll taxes. This misclassification also resulted in workers being paid less then minimum wage and not being paid overtime.

“This case is an example of gross exploitation of employees and we will not tolerate such unconscionable behavior,” said Bradstreet, in the release. “We believe these activities were deliberately designed to take advantage of workers who had few resources to fight for their rights… The defendants not only violated the rights of these workers, but they gained unfair advantage over their competitors for a sustained period of time.”