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Inland Empire warehouse staffing firm fined over alleged labor violations

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal in the biggest employment discrimination case in the nation’s history, one claiming that Wal-Mart discriminated against hundreds of thousands of women in pay and promotion.
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File photo: Premier Warehousing Ventures supplies workers to a WalMart distribution center in Mira Loma. The staffing agency has recently been hit with $600,000 in fines for labor violations.

California's labor commissioner has slapped a warehouse staffing agency from the Inland Empire with fines in excess of $600,000. State inspectors uncovered a host of labor violations, including denial of overtime pay at Premiere Warehousing Ventures.

Workers hit the same company with a class action lawsuit last month.

Premier Warehousing Ventures supplies workers to a Wal-Mart distribution center in Mira Loma. The California Department of Industrial Relations says the company failed to provide workers with accurate wage statements or let them see payroll records. The department fined another employment agency over similar charges last month. Workers are suing both agencies and the company that manages the distribution center. They say they were underpaid on purpose, denied overtime pay and pressured to work in unsafe conditions.

Guadalupe Palma is regional director of Warehouse Workers United, an advocate for Inland warehouse employees.

"Wage theft, no breaks, no lunches – it's rampant throughout the industry," she said. "And we estimate that a lot of the workers are working under these conditions."

"Most of the workers we come into contact with come to our organization asking for help, and because of the temp agency structure, once they report they're fired. We've heard that from these workers; we've heard that from workers at various other warehouses," Palma said.

Premier Warehousing has not commented on the state's action. The other companies under scrutiny have said they're cooperating with the state investigation.