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The California Labor Commissioner’s Office announced Tuesday that it has cited three chain grocery stores in Southern California for failing to provide or delaying supplemental paid sick leave or other benefits to 95 workers impacted by COVID-19.
The three El Super stores, run by Bodega Latina Corp., a Paramount, California-based company that operates 52 stores, allegedly forced employees to work while sick and told others to apply for unemployment while quarantining or in isolation, according to a statement from the Labor Commissioner’s office. The chain has been fined $447,836 for a number of violations related to its management of employees during the pandemic.
The Labor Commissioner’s Office opened an investigation in September 2020 after receiving complaints from workers and a referral from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
According to the statement, investigators found:
A spokesman for Bodega Latina said Wednesday that the citations are “without merit” and that an appeal is pending.
“We are, and have always been, committed to complying with labor laws,” he wrote in an email. “For months, we have attempted to work with the Labor Commissioner in order to provide evidence of compliance. … We are disappointed that the Labor Commissioner acted without completing their investigation.”