OAKLAND, CALIF.- California’s Labor Commissioner cited Foster Farms and three temporary staffing agencies for $3.8 million in fines for not informing 3,476 workers of the availability for COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.

An investigation by the office was started in 2020 following a COVID-19 outbreak at the Livingston, Calif., poultry plant. This included an audit of payroll records, which indicated the agencies and Foster Farms did not inform temporary staff of paid sick leave policy.

“Employers who contract with staffing agencies have a joint responsibility to protect the health of their workers,” said Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower. “Employers are obligated to ensure that employees are made aware of sick leave benefits intended to protect workers, their families and the public from the spread of COVID-19.” 

The Labor Commissioner’s Office found the temporary staffing agencies, Foster Farms LLC and Foster Poultry Farms, jointly liable for these violations.

The agency said workers whose employers have refused to provide paid sick leave or COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave as required by law can file a wage claim or report the labor law violation online or call the Labor Commissioner’s Office.

“Foster Farms is reviewing the recent action by the California Labor Commissioner,” the company said. “We abide by all federal and state employment laws. An extensive audit of Foster Farms full-time employees by the California Labor Commissioner failed to find any violations. As a matter of policy, we require all vendors to abide state and federal laws as well.”