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Release Number: 2021-110
Date: October 26, 2021

California Labor Commissioner Cites El Super Grocery Stores more than $1.1 Million for COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

Los Angeles—The Labor Commissioner’s Office has again cited Bodega Latina dba El Super grocery stores in Southern California $1,164,500 for failing to provide or delaying supplemental paid sick leave or other benefits to 240 workers at 38 locations affected by COVID-19. An investigation found that some workers were forced to work while sick, others were told to apply for unemployment while quarantining or in isolation, while others waited months to be paid. In July, the Labor Commissioner cited El Super $447,876 for similar violations affecting 95 workers at three stores.  

“Supplemental paid sick leave is a tool to protect our communities by stopping the spread of COVID-19 through the workplace,” said Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower. “After citing El Super in July, we heard from additional workers who had their sick leave denied or delayed. We broadened the scope of our investigation to capture as many workers impacted by these violations as possible and provide them what they are due.”

The Labor Commissioner’s Office opened its investigation on September 9, 2020 after receiving complaints from workers and a referral from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents grocery store workers. The investigators determined the employer did not consistently inform workers of their rights to supplemental paid sick leave if affected by COVID-19. In some instances, sick workers were told to come to work until they received their test results even when they had COVID-19 symptoms. To cover isolation time, some workers were told to apply for unemployment or disability. Some were denied time off to isolate when members of their household had tested positive. Some workers were never paid for their time off due to COVID-19.

The citations include $369,527 in wages, damages and interest for failing to provide leave under 2020 COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for food sector workers, and $42,473 in wages, damages and interest for failing to provide leave under 2021 COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for employers with 26 or more employees. In addition, $752,500 was assessed for nonpayment or late payment of supplemental paid sick leave.

The citations were issued to Bodega Latina Corporation, a Delaware corporation doing business as El Super with 52 stores in California. The following locations were cited:

5702 Firestone Blvd, #1, South Gate. 263 9th St., #37, San Bernardino
5646 E. Whittier Blvd., #3, Commerce 1578 W. Base Line St., #38, San Bernardino
3405 E Cesar E Chavez Ave., # 4, Los Angeles 570 S Mount Vernon Ave, #39, San Bernardino
12727 Sherman Way, # 5, North Hollywood 14103 Ramona Blvd, #41, Baldwin Park
650 N Euclid St., #11, Anaheim 15202 Hawthorne Blvd, #43, Lawndale
1100 W Slauson Ave, #13, Los Angeles 1527 Mission Ave, #45, Oceanside
960 W. Arrow Highway, #14, Covina 120 W. Anaheim Street, #48, Wilmington
10531 S. Carmenita Rd, #16, Santa Fe Springs 450 Long Beach Blvd., #49, Long Beach
1301 E Gage Ave., #17, Los Angeles 1000 N Mountain Ave, #50, Ontario
5610 York Blvd, #18, Los Angeles 4421 University Ave, #51, San Diego
14601 Lakewood Blvd, #21, Paramount  9320 Slauson Ave, #54, Pico Rivera
1285 N. Hacienda Blvd., #24, La Puente 1212 Magnolia Ave, #56, Corona
3211 Firestone Blvd, #27, South Gate 5800 Van Buren Blvd, #57, Riverside
14590 Bear Valley Road, #28, Victorville 310 E Florence Ave, #58, Los Angeles
151 W. Lincoln Ave, #29, Escondido 81619 US Highway 125, #63, Indio
16950 Foothill Blvd, #31, Fontana  8601 Hooper Ave, #500, Los Angeles
9850 Sierra Ave,  #32, Fontana 7220 S Vermont Ave, #501, Los Angeles
24899 Alessandro Blvd, #34, Moreno Valley 1035 South La Brea Ave, #502, Inglewood
515 S Riverside Ave, #35, Rialto 1950 Sterling Ave, #A86, Ontario

The 2021 supplemental paid sick leave law, which went into effect on March 29 and is retroactive to January 1, 2021, requires that California workers are provided up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave if they are affected by COVID-19. Among the key updates in the legislation, leave time also applies to attending a COVID-19 vaccine appointment and recovering from symptoms related to the vaccine. The law expired September 30, 2021. Small businesses employing 25 or fewer workers are exempt from the law but may offer supplemental paid sick leave and receive a federal tax credit, if eligible.

If your employer refused to provide paid sick leave or COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave as required by law, please call the Labor Commissioner’s Office at 833-LCO-INFO (833-526-4636) or visit the California Labor Commissioner’s Office website.

The Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (California Labor Commissioner’s Office) combats wage theft and unfair competition by investigating allegations of illegal and unfair business practices.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office in 2020 launched an interdisciplinary outreach campaign, “Reaching Every Californian.” The campaign amplifies basic protections and builds pathways to impacted populations so that workers and employers understand legal protections and obligations, and the Labor Commissioner’s enforcement procedures. Californians can follow the Labor Commissioner on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact: Communications@dir.ca.gov, (510) 286-1161