West Coast Customs faces stiff fines for not paying employees

West Coast Customs is in trouble with federal authorities and will be forced to pay over $150,000 thanks to charges that employees were chronically underpaid between November 2010 and January 2013, according to a report from The Press-Enterprise.

An investigation by the US Department of Labor has found that employees who should have been paid hourly and compensated for overtime were paid a fixed, weekly salary that in some cases resulted in an average hourly rate of just $6 per hour. For reference, that's $2 per hour below California's minimum wage, and still well below the $7.25 federal minimum wage.

In total, WCC and its owner Ryan Friedlinghaus, will pay $157,592, which will be split between 45 employees. An additional $16,830 in civil penalties is also being assessed, notes the report.

According to Daniel Pasquil, the DoL's district director of wages and hours division quoted by the newspaper, Friedlinghaus and WCC have sorted out their payment issues. "The fortunate thing, and the most important thing, is that the company did correct the violations," Pasquil told the paper. "They are now in full compliance."

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