Calif. Labor Commissioner Seeks Unpaid Hospital Wage Recipients

California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet yesterday distributed checks to former employees of Rady Children's Hospital who had not been paid for second meal breaks during their work shifts. The payments follow a $2.7 million settlement agreement with the hospital. More than $750,000 is expected to be distributed to 728 past employees.

"It's a genuine pleasure to give these employees an unexpected, hard-earned, and I'm sure very welcome, check," Bradstreet said. "I want everyone to know that I will vigorously enforce the law that protects all workers' right to take a meal break and to preserve a level playing field for businesses."

An investigation by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement of Rady's records in 2006 found the hospital failed over the last three years to pay many employees who worked 10 hours or more per day a second meal period as required by state labor laws. After DLSE launched an investigation, and at the request of DLSE, the hospital conducted a self-audit that revealed they owed employees $2,791,202. More than $2 million has already been paid to current employees, with the remainder of $757,487 still due to former employees.

Checks in amounts ranging from a few dollars to as much as $25,000 after taxes are being distributed to 150 former employees who have been located. The average check amount is around $1,000. Initially, 728 former employees were identified as recipients entitled to the meal payments. If they are not immediately located any remaining funds will be held in the state's unclaimed wage fund until the employees are found and claim their money.

"We will continue to search for the employees we haven’t yet found using various methods such as Employment Development Department records," Bradstreet said. "This money will stay in the unclaimed wage fund until they come forward to claim it."

To find out if you may have money waiting to be claimed, contact the San Diego office at 619-220-5451, or visit www.dir.ca.gov/dlse.

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