California regulator fines companies $3.8 million for COVID violations

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has fined several staffing agencies and a pair of meat processing companies a combined $3.8 million for failure to inform 3,476 temporary workers of their available COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.

Three temporary staffing agencies — Viking Staffing CA LLC, Human Bees Inc. and Marcos Renteria Ag Services Inc. — and joint employers Foster Farms LLC and Foster Poultry Farms were found to have violated state COVID-19 safety regulations intended to keep sick workers home.

According to a statement from the Labor Commissioner’s Office, investigators found that Foster Poultry Farms’ processing plant in Livingston experienced COVID-19 outbreaks and failed to follow protocols.

The investigation included an audit of payroll records, which determined that the temporary staffing agencies cited hired staff to fill in for permanent workers affected by COVID-19 outbreaks at the plant but failed to inform the temporary staff of their rights to supplemental paid sick leave.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office found the temporary staffing agencies, Foster Farms LLC and Foster Poultry Farms jointly liable for the violations.

The supplemental paid sick leave law went into effect this year and provides covered employees up to 80 hours of COVID-19-related paid leave, with up to 40 of those hours for isolation and quarantine, among other benefits.





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