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Peninsula Maid Service Fined $400K for Unpaid Wages, No Meal Or Rest Breaks

Three Sunflower Maid Service workers fired for cooperating with investigators must be hired back.

California's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has fined San Carlos-based Sunflowers Maid Service nearly $400,000 in unpaid wages and break periods to be paid back to its employees. 

The state agency's investigation found that 18 of the maid service's employees were paid for only eight hours while working 10-hour days. 

Additionally, the workers were denied meal and rest periods, the DLSE's investigation found. 

"We applaud the worker who came forward to report these violations," Labor Commissioner Julie Su said in a statement. 

During the three-year investigation, which ended in July 2013, Sunflowers Maid Service fired three workers for cooperating with investigators, according to Su.

When it became clear that the workers were fired in retaliation, the state agency immediately ordered Sunflowers to give the workers their jobs back and pay them $6,200 in lost wages. 

Additionally, the company was required to post a notice to employees admitting the retaliatory firings and agreeing to make up the lost wages, according to the DLSE. 

"Our swift response to the retaliation demonstrates our commitment to protecting workers who speak out and cooperate in order for us to conduct a meaningful inspection," Su said. "The retaliation investigations were completed within a month of the terminations." 

The owners of Sunflowers Maid Service, Daniel Chopoff and Ana Garcia, were ordered to pay $208,107 in wage violations, $69,172 in rest period premiums, $28,634 in meal period premiums and $89,030 in unpaid overtime. 

They must also pay $61,200 in additional civil penalties, according to the DLSE.

Sunflowers Maid Service today declined to comment on the fines or investigation.

Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited. 
lad April 15, 2014 at 09:23 AM
Applause for the brave workers who came forward! They valued themselves and their work -- very rightly so -- standing up to an employer with little regard for humanity or the law.
Sharon Tobin April 15, 2014 at 10:10 AM
Very brave individuals to come forward in today's anti-worker climate. You can fight back if you have the tenacity. Good to see the government worked for the worker and not the industry this time. The government agency did what it was supposed to do. But only because the workers stood up to the owners.
Felicia Bermudez Haggarty April 15, 2014 at 10:48 AM
Those investigators should have checked with me. I just let them go because I was tired of them using my kitchen stove, dishes and utensils to prepare their meals and then sit at my table for an hour chatting and laughing away while I was trying to work quietly in my home office.
Michael Williams April 15, 2014 at 01:33 PM
We've used Sunflowers Maid Service for cleaning our multistory Belmont home for about 2 years - and found their workers to be very hardworking and capable. Our only complaint is that they seemed to be too rushed, not putting items back where we had placed them - a symptom of the company's pressure. We hope the company survives - and greatly improves its treatment of its workers. They deserve better.

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