San Carlos maid service fined nearly $400K for unpaid wages 

California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has fined San Carlos-based Sunflowers Maid Service nearly $400,000 in unpaid wages and break periods to be paid back to its employees.

The state agency’s investigation found that 18 of the maid service’s employees were paid for only eight hours while working 10-hour days.

Additionally, the company’s workers were denied meal and rest periods, the state agency’s investigation found.

“We applaud the worker who came forward to report these violations,” Labor Commissioner Julie Su said in a statement.

During the three-year investigation, which ended in July 2013, Sunflowers Maid Service fired three workers for cooperating with investigators, according to Su.

When it became clear that the workers were fired in retaliation, the state agency immediately ordered Sunflowers to give the workers their jobs back and pay them $6,200 in lost wages.

In addition, the company was required to post a notice to employees admitting the retaliatory firings and agreeing to make up the lost wages, according to the labor standards division.

“Our swift response to the retaliation demonstrates our commitment to protecting workers who speak out and cooperate in order for us to conduct a meaningful inspection,” Su said. “The retaliation investigations were completed within a month of the terminations.”

The owners of Sunflowers Maid Service, Daniel Chopoff and Ana Garcia, were ordered to pay $208,107 in wage violations, $69,172 in rest period premiums, $28,634 in meal period premiums and $89,030 in unpaid overtime. They must also pay $61,200 in additional civil penalties, according to the state agency.

Sunflowers Maid Service declined to comment Monday on the fines or investigation.

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