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Ranch worker sues for unpaid overtime and other wage theft

Wage theft and other wage and hour violations occur in California and across the other states, but that does not mean that the workers are forced to sit back and take it. A former employee of a horse ranch in another state claims that she was not paid the minimum wage, credited with overtime or reimbursed for expenses. She is now fighting back against the company and its owner in federal court.

The plaintiff alleges that she regularly worked 80 hours each week but was not given overtime. She claims that she was instead paid a $300 weekly salary. During one of her shifts, she asserts she was thrown from a horse and broke her collarbone. To recover, she needed time off work but was purportedly told that she could not take it. Additionally, she was apparently told that her injury would not be covered by workers' compensation.

Because she suffered the injury at work, the plaintiff assumed that her employer would help her with the medical bills since they were not covered. She claims that the defendants refused to pay for her bills and also stopped paying her salary. The plaintiff further alleges that any expenses that she incurred while she was at the ranch were not reimbursed, forcing her to pay for everything out of pocket.

The assistant horse trainer claims that the defendants did everything to cut costs, including misclassifying her as an independent contractor to avoid payroll taxes. Due to the financial and emotional burden she purportedly endured, she is suing the defendants for monetary damages as well as violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act for unpaid overtime and other wages. Furthermore, she is seeking injunctive relief to prevent the defendants from engaging in this type of illegal behavior going forward. Legal recourse is available for California employees who believe that they are the victims of wage theft, job misclassification or any other violations of wage and hour laws. Through the legal system, the workers may be able to recover what they believe they are owed as well as any other relief as deemed appropriate by the court.

Source: wvrecord.com, "Woman sues Putnam County horse ranch over wage claims", Hoang Tran, Jan. 20, 2016

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