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By Jorge Casuso
March 12, 2019 -- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday recognized Santa Monica for its successful efforts to enforce its minimum wage law by collecting more than $43,000 in back wages for 75 local employees. .
The City Attorney’s Office worked with the L.A. County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), which was also recognized by the County, to prosecute two hotel gift shops, a major hotel and a janitorial company for violating the local wage law.
“In Santa Monica, we are committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive community, and a business environment characterized by honest work and fair pay," said City Attorney Lane Dilg, who accepted the scroll on behalf of the City.
"We’re grateful to DCBA for their partnership, and we look forward to continued efforts to ensure that an honest day’s work in our City is always paid an honest and fair wage.”
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who arranged for the recognition with Supervisor Hilda Solis, said that DCBA "has gotten so good at minimum wage enforcement that other cities have asked us to help them,"
"In my district, one of those cities is Santa Monica," Kuehl said. "I want to commend DCBA's team for their outstanding work helping my district enforce the minimum wage ordinance and ensure that a hard day's work is rewarded with a fair day's pay.”
These led to ten investigations involving 110 employees that resulted in four notices of violation and two cases filed -- against the JW Marriott LA Boutique Gift Shop and Merchants Building Maintenance, LLC.
The Mariott boutique owner pleaded no contest and was ordered to pay back wages, costs for prosecutors and perform community service ("Marriott Hotel Gift Shop Owner Becomes First Convicted of Violating Santa Monica Higher Minimum Wage Law," November 28, 2017).
Merchants Building Maintenance admitted to dozens of violations of the local wage law and agreed to pay full restitution to the 36 affected employees, totaling more than $23,000.
It also agreed to pay $36,000 in penalties ("Santa Monica Prosecutors Resolve Second Case of Minimum Wage Law Violations," January 24, 2018).
The local law, which was implemented on July 1, 2016, set the minimum wage at $10.50 in 2016, phasing it up to $13.25 last year and reaching $15 by 2020.
In 2016, Supervisor Solis made a successful motion to prioritize the enforcement of wage violations. Since then., Solis said, "we have made a big impact."
The County's Wage Enforcement Program has resulted in more than 6,000 inquiries and has helped more than 1,300 employees collect more than $200,000 in back wages, Solis said.
For more information about minimum wage in Santa Monica, visit www.smgov.net/minimumwage.
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