Four real estate agents in California who claimed that their employer paid them less than the state’s minimum wage while also refusing to pay overtime have a reached a settlement with the company, Bakersfield reports.
Their employer, ZipRealty, agreed a total payout of $586,068 for the four employees.
Discussing the background to the case, Christine Baker of the California Department of Industrial Relations said that although real estate was previously never regarded as a low-paying industry, changes had occurred in the current economic climate that had resulted in many real estate agents earning less than California’s minimum wage.
She warned that real estate companies had a duty to ensure their staff received adequate pay, stating:
“Employers who previously were not concerned with minimum wage issues are now put on notice to ensure they are providing those basic protections to workers."
The four agents, named as Patrice Parsons-Adams, Steven Kinney, Nadine Radovicz and Marilee Tomczak, successfully argued that they were being paid less than California’s $8 an hour minimum wage, whilst working long hours for ZipRealty.
Their employer, who hasn’t made any public comments regarding the settlement, had tried to say that as the four agents were contract workers and not direct employees, they were not entitled to receive any additional pay. However, the California Department of Industrial Relations backed the agent’s viewpoint, and this led to the settlement being reached.
One of the agents, Radovicz, said that she was pleased with the settlement as it would save her the trouble of having to take the case to court, but added that she wasn’t about to start celebrating her windfall just yet, “not until I actually get my hands on the check”.
ZipRealty is also facing a second court case against hundreds of other employees. Their case is being taken up by California State Labor Commissioner Julie Su, who recently filed a $17 million claim on their behalf.