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California workers sue over payment dispute

Gerawan Farming is a family-owned grower and shipper of grape and tree fruit. Workers of the company filed a class-action lawsuit over a payment dispute. Overall, the California workers are requesting the court to order payments of over $5 million.

According to reports, two employees filed a lawsuit against Gerawan Farming on behalf of other workers. The workers claim they are owed overtime pay and back wages for themselves and 10,000 other workers. Also, the workers claim that the company failed to allow employees to take break periods and also did not pay the required minimum wage. In response to the lawsuit, the company stated that it did not engage in any illegal labor practices. In fact, Gerawan Farming further stated that allegations in the lawsuit are not true.

Reportedly, the attorney representing the workers is also representing the United Farm Workers union. The union came back to the scene in 2012 and attempted to enforce a contract with employees to either forfeit their jobs or facilitate paying 3 percent of their wages. Since then, employees sought to have a vote to overthrow the union. Since there is a pending case, the votes still have not been counted in that matter.

When companies do not pay all that is due to their employees, it can result in a payment dispute. In regard to hourly payment, federal regulations require employees to be paid at a minimum wage. Further, California employees who work more than a certain amount of hours in any given week are entitled to overtime pay. If these requirements are not met, employees may have the right to pursue wage and hour claims against the employer.

Source: The Packer, Two workers pursue class action against Gerawan Farming, No author, Feb. 6, 2014

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