OCEANSIDE — Sundance Natural Foods Company will pay more than $13,000 in back wages to its employees for unpaid overtime.
Sundance, the “leading marketer of fresh, organic citrus and avocados throughout the United States” according to its website, was found to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act.
The company is located at 2231 Willowbrook Drive in Oceanside.
A U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation found the employer violated Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act requirements by failing to provide employees safe transportation.
Sundance failed to provide working seatbelts, failed to obtain California Highway Patrol certification for a vehicle carrying more than nine passengers and employed a driver without the required Class B license to drive an 11-passenger vehicle.
According to a news release from the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, the investigation also found that Sundance violated Fair Labor Standards Act overtime requirements after failing to record or pay overtime to packing shed employees who spent time “putting on required work equipment prior to their shifts and removing this equipment after their shifts.”
Sundance also failed to pay overtime to one non-exempt, salaried employee who worked more than 40 hours per week.
Additional Fair Labor Standards Act recordkeeping violations against Sundance include failing to record all hours that its employees worked and failure to keep documentation of a minor employee’s date of birth.
Sundance owes $13,641 in back wages to 45 employees for unpaid overtime. The company was also assessed $5,130 in civil penalties, according to the Department of Labor.
“The laws we enforce not only ensure that employees are paid what they have legally earned, they also keep farm workers safe on the job,” stated Wage and Hour Division District Director Rodolfo Cortez in the release.
Cortez is encouraging employers to contact Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division for assistance and to help them “understand the law and avoid violations.”
Employers that discover overtime or minimum wage violations can self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division’s Payroll Audit Independent Determination program.
According to its website, the PAID program allows employers to “work in good faith with WHD to correct their mistakes and to quickly provide 100% of the back wages due to their affected employees.”
Samantha Nelson covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son