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California flower packers claim unpaid overtime

When California workers feel that they are exploited by their employers, they often want to take action to be fairly compensated. In the current economic climate, most workers are willing to work extra hours, because the additional income could help them make ends meet. However, when they put in those extra hours and the employer fails to compensate them for the overtime, they are bound to feel violated.

A group of 22 workers at Rocket Farms, a company which grows flowers and herbs, has recently filed a lawsuit claiming compensation for unpaid overtime. The employer allegedly misclassified the group of workers as field workers in order to avoid overtime expenses. According to the labor laws, the field workers only earn overtime when they work more than 10 hours per day. However, this group was not field workers, but packers and flower arrangers, and are supposed to receive overtime compensation if their working hours exceed eight hours.

In Oct. 2013, three workers reportedly filed a claim, and in Dec. their employer offered some workers overtime. A representative for the plaintiffs views this as an act of bribery and an extended suit was recently filed to include more workers. Rocket Farms denied these allegations and claims that it always endeavors to meet the terms of the labor laws.

California workers who feel that their employer has violated their rights by failing to compensate them for overtime worked may be entitled to bring a claim to a court of law. It may be beneficial, though, to familiarize themselves with the applicable laws prior to filing a claim. In successfully presented cases, they may be able to recover unpaid wages, along with additional monetary damages, depending on the circumstances.

Source: Monterey County Weekly, "Workers sue flower-farm giant for unpaid wages and overtime.", Sara Rubin, April 17, 2014

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