Labor Commissioner Decision Results in over $100,000 for Hunting Club Caretaker Making Less than Minimum Wage

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office announced that a Northern California hunting club paid an on-site caretaker $100,867 in back wages after the wage claim hearing officer ruled the worker was making less than minimum wage. He was misclassified as an exempt, salaried employee and should have been paid hourly.

The caretaker of Butte Lodge Outing Club, Inc. in Colusa filed a claim for unpaid wages from April 2014 to June 2016. Following the hearing, the Labor Commissioner’s Office awarded the worker $76,003 in overtime wages, $17,988 in liquidated damages, and $6,875 in interest.

“Misclassifying workers exposes employers to significant financial costs,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. “California law is clear that if employers pay less than the minimum wage, when they are caught they will be responsible for paying not just the wages owed but an equivalent amount in liquidated damages plus interest. This case shows that when workers come forward to report wage theft, we can help them get what they’ve earned and in many cases even more.”

The 55-year-old caretaker had been employed at the hunting club for 18 years as a salaried employee paid biweekly. In addition to the care of the property, the worker was tasked with planting the wetlands with trees, grasses and grain preferred by waterfowl, and upon request, frequently plucked, gutted and cleaned the ducks shot down by the lodge members.  He worked more than 70 hours a week during duck hunting season, which normally takes place for 10 to 12 weeks from October through January. His employer paid him the wages owed this month.

Source: Department of Industrial Relations  |  2017 © Copyright Payroll Masters

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