California doggy daycare sued by former worker for unpaid wages

Under the wage and hour laws of California, employees are offered protections that independent contractors are not, including state-mandated breaks and overtime. One former doggy daycare worker is suing Love Dogs Camp for $142,000 in unpaid wages and penalties, alleging that she was classified as an independent contractor so her pay wouldn't be reported. The woman also claims that the company overworked and underpaid her because of her contractor status.

The woman worked at the doggy daycare facility from November 2011 through July 2012. She claims that during that time, she was made to work for many consecutive days without time off and was paid with personal checks for far fewer hours than she actually worked. The woman claims that the owner of Love Dogs Camp admitted to her that she was trying to keep from reporting her pay to the Internal Revenue Service.

The suit contends that the owner of the doggy daycare facility controlled the woman's actions while she was at work. Under California law, this is one way to classify a worker as an employee. The $142,000 in damages requested in the suit includes $12,500 in regular back wages and $67,000 in overtime that is unpaid.

Love Dogs Camp intends to respond to the suit, which includes other allegations besides unpaid wages that concern the treatment of dogs in the facility. If the employment and wage allegations against the company are proven, the owner could be assessed penalties upwards of $15,000 by the state in addition to the damages paid to the former worker. Suing an employer may seem daunting, but any worker who feels that he or she is owed wages may benefit from seeking legal advice. In many cases, taking action may help the worker recover compensation for hours worked and discourage the employer from illegal labor practices in the future.

Source:, "Former employee claims A.G. doggy daycare worked her like a dog," Patrick M. Klemz, July 17, 2013

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