California has cited Tesla and fined the company $84,000 in a case of not covering janitors with workers’ compensation insurance, a violation of state law.
According to reports, the state is also investigating Tesla for not paying the janitors special overtime wages for overtime work, which is also a violation.
Janitors not insured or given overtime pay
The state’s Labor Commissioner cited Tesla’s energy operations division for failing to pay for workers’ compensation insurance for its custodians as required of employers everywhere in California. The state also cited the janitorial contractor Tesla used at the time and cited that company another $84,000 for the same violations.
State records show that Tesla Energy Operations is also being investigated by California regulators because its supplier of janitors was not paying the custodians overtime pay, according to a CBS radio broadcast.
A representative from a California janitorial industry watchdog organization, known as the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, said “Something that is also ongoing is the wage theft investigation … They have not been paid overtime or taking rest breaks as they cleaned the Tesla building.”
The watchdog emphasized that “there’s no excuse for a company that earned $42 billion a year to not treat its workers fairly,” according to CBS.
A Tesla spokesperson denied Tesla is being investigated for the overtime pay violation, adding that the company "maintains workers compensation insurance for our employees at all times and requires proof of workers compensation from all of our contractors."
Workers’ comp and overtime pay are the law in California
California has strict workers’ compensation laws requiring (with very rare exceptions) all employers to carry insurance for all their employees. That insurance must provide basic benefits, including medical care, temporary and permanent disability benefits, job displacement and return-to-work supplements and death benefits, according to the state’s website.
Employers in California, again with rare exceptions, can’t require you to work more than 40 hours a week without paying you your hourly wage plus one half that wage for each extra hour you work.
Employers must also follow other pay requirements, such as paying you time and a half for every hour you work over 12 hours in a given day, even if your total for the week is less than 40 hours.