- The U.S. Labor Department has ordered Placentia, CA-based Sanchez Recycling to pay $113,000 in back wages and damages to seven workers. Officials say the company paid workers in cash, denied them overtime pay, and didn't keep proper records.
- Sanchez Recycling runs multiple redemption centers for aluminum, glass, and plastic beverage containers in Southern California. Some employees were working as many as 65 hours in six days and driving between locations without pay.
- This comes shortly after Garcia Recycling was forced to pay 15 workers $200,378 for wage violations in March. The two companies are owned by brothers.
Alfredo Garcia Sanchez, the owner of Sanchez Recycling, will pay the fines but considers them "unjust." He said he often helps employees when they need money and gives undocumented immigrants a chance to work. Garcia Sanchez said he now has computerized time clocks and requires all employees to punch in and out.
Federal law requires employees be paid time-and-a-half for working more than 40 hours and California law requires time-and-a-half for any shift longer than eight hours. When federal officials began targeting the Los Angeles recycling industry last year they found that more than three-quarters of the 46 companies investigated were violating wage laws. They have since broadened their reach to include Orange, San Diego, Fresno, and Sacramento counties.
California's recycling industry has been embroiled in numerous investigations and arrests in recent years. Last year, five people were indicted for grand theft and recycling fraud charges as part of a $14 million beverage container scheme. In April, a driver was arrested for his role in another beverage redemption-related issue. Earlier this month, CalRecycle accused 12 companies — including a Waste Management subsidiary — of fraud and said they owe the state's container deposit program $14 million.