Three California grocery stores cited for not providing employees with paid COVID-19 sick leave

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has cited three El Super grocery stores for a total of more than $447,000 after they allegedly failed to provide paid sick leave to 95 employees affected by COVID-19, officials announced Tuesday.   

Employees complained that they were told to come to work until they received their test results regardless of whether or not they were experiencing symptoms or were directly exposed to someone who already tested positive for the virus, according to the California Labor Commissioner. Workers also reportedly claimed they were told to apply for unemployment while quarantining. 

"The claims made in recent media reports referencing a citation from California Labor Commissioner regarding supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) are false. We are, and have always been, committed to complying with labor laws," said Eric Rose, a spokesman for El Super.

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"For months, we have attempted to work with the Labor Commissioner in order to provide evidence of compliance with SPSL. We are disappointed that the Labor Commissioner acted without completing their investigation. The citation is without merit and we will vigorously defend our record of compliance. We have filed an appeal and are confident that when all the facts are known, we will prevail in court," he continued.

The citations were issued to El Super's parent company, Bodega Latina Corporation. 

The following locations in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties were cited:

  • 1100 W. Slauson Ave., Los Angeles
  • 10721 Atlantic Ave., Lynwood
  • 14590 Bear Valley Rd. #28, Victorville

As Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower put it, "Supplemental paid sick leave is intended to protect workers from being forced to choose between their health and providing for their families."  

She described the violations as incredibly serious as they directly "expose workers, their families and El Super’s customers to unnecessary health risks." 

Garcia-Brower stressed that supplemental paid sick leave is vital in stopping the spread of COVID-19 as she continuously works to ensure workers have access to paid sick leave to "care for themselves or their relatives." 

Officials with Bodega Latina Corporation have not immediately responded as of Tuesday to comment on the situation.

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