Large distribution centers help receive and sort goods that are sent all across the United States for hundreds of companies, including some of the nation’s most recognizable brands. These distributions centers which are located just east of Los Angeles are also rampant with illegal labor practices according to a federal lawsuit. They move millions of dollars in goods each year, but it appears they pay their employees very little.
According to reports, the warehouses employ approximately 100,000 people. A man who supervises employees at the warehouses says he was forced by managers into altering employees’ timecards, meaning they received less pay than the California minimum wage of $8 per hour.
Not only do employees claim they are underpaid by the warehouses, but they were forced to work in high heat and work quickly. These violations led to over 60 workplace safety violations by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Some workers say they were even forced to rent a shirt with the company logo on it for $1 per week.
Because of these illegal labor practices, the state has proposed fines for the Los Angeles area warehouses of nearly $1.4 million. Some of these warehouses have allegedly paid employees less than half of the minimum wage, and used job insecurity to prevent the workers from forming a union. Those who face wages under the minimum or unsafe working conditions might be wise to speak with an employment law attorney. They will be able to help determine a course of action and explain an employee’s rights.
Source: MSNBC, “Warehouse workers say abuses are systematic,” Lilly Fowler, March 5, 2012