June 27 (UPI) — The City of Los Angeles fined CKE Restaurants, Inc., the corporation that owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, $1.45 million for paying employees less than minimum wage.
“L.A. law is clear: employees must be paid at least the minimum wage. Anything less is a slap in the face to workers struggling to make ends meet,” said City Attorney Mike Feuer in a statement. “This is a major corporation that should know the rules. Our offices will always aggressively stand up for workers to ensure they get the wages they’re owed, and all the protections and benefits the law demands.”
After a complaint from a Carl’s Jr. employee, the Los Angeles Office of Wage Standards launchged an investigation. The OWS found that the company did not pa minimum wage to 37 employees between July 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2016.
Minimum wage in Los Angeles is $10.50 per hour. It will go up to $12 per hour on July 1.
The investigation also found that two Carl’s Jr. locations did not post notices that inform employees of the minimum wage rate, sick time benefits, and employee rights, which is a city requirement.
The minimum wage fine is the latest legal problem for the fast food giant.
In February, one current and one former CKE restaurant manager filed a class action lawsuit against the company for having a “no hire”policy that prohibited managers from going to work at other restaurants within the company for higher wages.
“If I can’t threaten my employer with going elsewhere — and taking my unique skills … to another Carl’s Jr. restaurant with me — then I am unable to demand as high of a salary,” said Nina DiSalvo, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “There’s no pro-competitive justification that we can identify that would support having a restraint like this. The only reason we can identify is to actively reduce labor costs to save them money.”
The lawsuit quotes CKE chief executive officer Andy Puzder, an evangelist for free market capitalism and reduced regulation, to depict his company’s “no hire” as hypocrisy.