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Pursuit of SoCal dentist shows wage law has teeth

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

For a Southern California cook, getting paid was like pulling teeth. For five months he was a private chef for a dentist, but was never paid.

In desperation, he contacted Employ­­ment Education and Outreach (EMPLEO), a California nonprofit program that assists Hispanic workers. EMPLEO contacted the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). This particular case did not fall under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act jurisdiction.

Even so, the WHD refused to brush the cook aside. Sensing something was rotten, the feds contacted Cali­­fornia Labor and Workforce Devel­­op­­ment Agency officials to find a solution.

State DOL officials drilled down through public records to discover the employer was a dentist. The state threatened to revoke his license if he didn’t pay the cook.

To settle the matter, the dentist coughed up $11,000 in back wages.

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