SLO County produce companies to pay $1.7 million to settle lawsuit

August 23, 2022


Two major agricultural companies on the Central Coast have agreed to pay $1.7 million to settle a class action lawsuit over employee issues, according to an Aug. 12 tentative ruling by San Luis Obispo County Superior Court  Judge Tana Coates.

San Luis Obispo based attorney Allen Hutkin and Santa Barbara based attorney James Cordes filed the class action lawsuit against All About Produce, The Berry Man, Les Clark and Oscar Camacho over wage and hour violations. The suit alleges unpaid minimum wages and overtime, failures to provide meal and rest periods, failures to
provide accurate wage statements and failures to reimburse for business expenses.

Issues include failures to provide three rest breaks on days employees worked over 12 hours.

More than 700 former employees are involved in the class action suit. Of those, 13 employees are slated to receive enhanced awards of between $1,000 and $18,000.

Judge Coates approved lawyer fees of $799,000 and costs not to exceed $65,000.

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$799,000 in fees and $65,000 in costs for 700 former employees comes to $1,234.29 per employee. I don’t think this is unreasonable.

As for employment records, it is a pain but you got to keep them.

Court is expensive, Try to avoid it.

These types of lawsuits harm all of us. The employees were seduced to join the lawsuit by the offer of free money. The lawyers got rich. And the crime was that the employer failed to keep adequate records. Anyone who runs a small business knows it is cost prohibitive to keep detailed records about each employee’s breaks, meals, etc. Now the employer will have to hire another person or two to maintain adequate records and pass the cost, along with the lawsuit costs, on to the consumer.

Good for the employees…..but great for the lawyers! $800k for their services? That’s BS. How much compensation will the employees end up getting after this shakes out?

Not much, they never do.

Matthew 6:5 let us be open, and not blind to corruption and propaganda by zealots, nationalists, or anyone else rich or poor. We all deserve the same foundation on God’s Eden. As David Bowie said, “5 years, that’s all we got, 5 years, doesn’t seem like a lot, 5 years suck on my eyes,5 years what a surprise!”.

May have gotten their back wages but i doubt the companies in question are going to keep a “full force” on board due to a now tightened budget. Got themselves fired more or less…