FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2006-13
March 24, 2006

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
Renée Bacchini
(415) 703-5050


Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition announces results of a restaurant enforcement action in Woodland

Woodland – Investigators with the Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC) targeted El Charro Restaurant in Woodland on March 23 after they received a tip the restaurant was operating illegally.

EEEC is a multi-agency task force designed to investigate California’s underground economic activity. In this enforcement action, the EEEC targeted a business that was found to have avoided labor and tax laws, and carried no workers’ compensation insurance for its employees.
“The 15 employees at this restaurant have rights and it is our goal to protect them,” said Acting State Labor Commissioner Robert Jones. “During this enforcement action we found that the employer had no workers’ compensation and hadn’t paid his employees in quite some time.”

A stop order was issued requiring the employer to immediately discontinue using employee labor at the restaurant. The investigation also revealed that the workers had not been paid a regular paycheck since December 2005. Actions such as these give a competitive economic advantage to businesses operating underground over legitimate businesses that follow the law.
The results of the enforcement action are as follows:

Number of inspections 2
Total citation amount  $45,000
Citations issued for no workers’ compensation and no required payroll deductions

A citation totaling $15,000 was issued for not having workers’ compensation and is calculated as $1,000 per employee. The owner of El Charro Restaurant will be responsible for paying employees up to a total of 10 days after following the issuance of the citation and stop order for no workers’ compensation coverage.

An additional citation totaling $30,000 was issued for not paying employees on a scheduled payday. This violation is calculated at $250 per employee per pay period. An audit is also being performed to verify what is owed employees for their regular pay, as well as overtime and split shift wages.

Launched in July ’05 with the full support of Governor Schwarzenegger, the EEEC was formed with a dual mission: to enforce California labor laws; and to educate business owners and workers. On the enforcement side, the EEEC aims to root out businesses participating in the underground economy, which cost the state and legitimate businesses millions each year, in many cases passing the cost on to the consumer. In addition, EEEC helps educate business owners on California’s employment laws and their responsibilities, and educates employees on their rights as workers.

The EEEC conducts sweeps in various industries including garment, agriculture, construction, horse race track, car wash, janitorial and restaurant. EEEC also holds workshops throughout the state to educate employers and workers on labor and wage issues. For more information on the EEEC, please visit our website at www.dir.ca.gov.

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