The California Department of Industrial Relations revealed last week that three poultry companies and their owner Tony Bran had together agreed to a settlement of $1.47 million, settling allegations that they had underpaid 300 employees. The companies, The Exclusive Poultry Inc., JT Foods Specialty Inc. and D8 Poultry LLC, are characterized as “client employers” of various labor contractors.

Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower applauded the result of the settlement, emphasizing the necessity for employers to pay the minimum wage and compensate workers for rest periods and all other non-productive time.

“This result also upholds the liability of client employers, who in this case built a business around low-paid processing workers and tried to hide behind undercapitalized labor contractors,” García-Brower said.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed in summer 2017, with the department subsequently finding that workers were paid a flat rate of $2.35 per 40-pound box of deboned chicken, but were not paid for rest breaks, other nonproductive time or overtime. It was further discovered that some workers were making less than the minimum wage.

The department issued citations in 2018, but Bran and his companies chose