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Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards marks 7th anniversary

The following is from the City of Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards, whose administrative staff, outreach specialists, enforcement investigators and policy analysts are represented by PROTEC17:

SEATTLE (April 8, 2022) — In seven years of becoming an office at the City of Seattle, from April 1, 2015, thru April 1, 2022, the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) settled or otherwise resolved 989 cases against 529 employers that agreed to pay a total of $24,689,452 in total remedies to 40,779 workers.

“Even during the most trying times of COVID, OLS continued to work to protect workers’ rights and support small businesses with compliance assistance,” said OLS Director Steven Marchese. “In seven short years, OLS implemented 16 labor laws that represent groundbreaking protections, support, and millions of dollars in remedies for Seattle workers across numerous industries… and we’re just getting started! Our dedicated policy, outreach and enforcement teams are passionate about Seattle labor standards and the people we serve.”

“The seven-year partnership with the City of Seattle Office of Labor Standards has allowed El Centro de la Raza to recover over a quarter of a million dollars in wages for our Spanish-speaking workers in the community through ongoing training and wage theft assistance at our Work Center. We hope to continue to expand our program to reach and continue to empower workers,” said Estela Ortega, Executive Director at El Centro de la Raza.

The 989 cases over seven years involve a wide range of employers and eight ordinance violations. Two ordinances, Wage Theft and Minimum Wage, also marked seven years since the labor standards went into effect. Resolved Wage theft investigations totaled 208, resulting in $7,998,470 in remedies to workers. Over the past seven years, 159 resolved minimum wage investigations resulted in $4,462,843 dollars returned to workers.

One such investigation involving both ordinances was Carpe Diem Pizza, Inc. dba Domino’s Pizza, a franchise operator of 14 Domino’s Pizza locations in Seattle and more than 30 Domino’s Pizza locations through the Puget Sound area. Carpe Diem Pizza, Inc. dba Domino’s Pizza agreed to pay a total financial remedy of $2,177,855.08 to 1,330 affected workers, and $600 to the City of Seattle for allegations under the Minimum Wage, and Wage Theft Ordinances, as well as Secure Scheduling.

Among the violations, OLS alleged the employer did not pay the Seattle Minimum Wage to delivery drivers for time spent making deliveries in Seattle when drivers worked from a location on the Seattle border and did not consistently pay overtime compensation to employees who worked over 40 hours in a work week across multiple locations.

“As a City Councilmember, I was proud to support the formation of the Office of Labor Standards, and, as mayor, I am grateful our city remains dedicated to ensuring protections for workers are upheld,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “In One Seattle, every worker — no matter their wage or personal background — deserves dignity, our respect, and the full protection of the law.”

“Progress is clearly being made as demonstrated by the work OLS has done and that gives me renewed hope for the future of low-wage workers in Seattle. I’m so thankful to know that because of OLS, low- wage workers’ voices actually matter,” said a former Carpe Diem Pizza employee.

Please visit the OLS data interactive dashboards for more information on resolved investigations, worker inquiries, financial remedies, and more.

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