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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Recycling Firm Accused of Wage Violations, Threats Against Workers Agrees to Settlement

Today's post was shared by FairWarning and comes from

A Los Angeles recycling business accused of violating federal minimum wage and overtime rules, and pressuring workers to lie to government investigators, has agreed to pay more than $74,000 in back wages and damages to 13 employees in a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor.

In a consent agreement filed this week in federal court in Los Angeles, Alkanan, Inc., and an owner of the firm, Karim Ameri, neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing. Ameri declined to comment on the settlement.

As reported by FairWarning, federal authorities in December obtained a restraining order to bar the firm from pressuring workers to mislead investigators, or threatening to report them to immigration authorities if they coooperated with the probe. According to a court document, Ameri “threatened to break an employee’s arm”, though an accountant for the business later told labor officials that Ameri got tripped up by language barriers and didn’t mean it as a threat of violence. Under the names Recycling Innovations and Valley Recycling, Alkanan operates seven bottle-and-can redemption centers in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.

“We are pleased to have reached a resolution in this case that will provide employees with the wages they worked hard to earn,” said Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division’s western region, in a prepared statement. “We will use all available tools, including litigation,…to...

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