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Living wage ruling stands as high court rejects appeal ($1.6 million in back wages, Cintas)

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-03-08 10:25 AM
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Living wage ruling stands as high court rejects appeal ($1.6 million in back wages, Cintas)

By Eric Kurhi
The Daily Review
Article Last Updated: 09/11/2008 10:00:47 PM PDT

HAYWARD A laundry company that violated the city's living wage ordinance will have to pay former employees more than $1.6 million in back wages, interest and penalties after the state Supreme Court rejected an appeal on Wednesday.

Cincinnati-based Cintas Corp. contracted with Hayward to clean city worker's uniforms between 1999 and 2003 for about $100,000 per year. The lawsuit held that Cintas did not pay 219 of its employees the minimum wage required by Hayward, which at the time was $8 an hour if health benefits were provided, $9.25 an hour if they were not.

Plaintiffs Francisca Amaral and Nelva Hernandez, who first filed the suit in 2003, said they were paid $8.20 and $7.10 an hour, respectively, without health benefits.

Workers at the Cintas laundry plants in San Leandro and Union City soon entered a class-action suit, and the city of Hayward joined the suit when Cintas lawyers called it unconstitutional.

Cintas maintained that it did not have to abide by the ordinance because its facilities were outside of city limits and not subject to municipal code.

An Alameda County court ruled in 2005 that while Hayward laws apply only to actions occurring in Hayward, a city has the right to impose municipal ordinances on businesses it contracts with, regardless of location.

In effect, it ruled that it was up to Cintas to withdraw from the contract if it could not comply. That ruling was upheld in June, and was summarily appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed with the lower courts on all counts.

It sets a precedent for similar living wage ordinances in other cities, including Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco and San Jose.

Also and $1.26 million in attorney's fees!

September 18, 2008
Employer Must Pay $2.2 Million for Living Wage Violations

In Amaral v. Cintas Corp. No. 2, Calif. Court of Appeal (Dist. 1) Nos. A114510, A114981 (2008), the court upheld the California city of Hayward's living wage ordinance and ordered an employer to pay $2.2 million for violating its terms, even though the employees at issue worked outside Hayward limits.

FULL story at link.

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