California Rural Legal Assistance and an Oxnard flower grower have settled an employment and wage dispute for $180,000, lawyers said Tuesday.
Francisco Gomez, Jose de Jesus Martinez and Liborio Tapia alleged that Pleasant Valley Flowers did not properly pay overtime wages or provide meal and rest periods while they were employed there in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Although there was no admission or determination of wrongdoing, the parties reached a mutual resolution and the company promised it would comply with state and federal employment laws, according to a statement released by CRLA, a nonprofit agency that provides legal help to farm workers and others.
“The settlement was fair to both parties,” said Santos Gomez, attorney for the agency and counsel for the plaintiffs.
The settlement establishes a fund of $180,000 that will be distributed to the plaintiffs and workers employed at Pleasant Valley Nursery during the three years.
Attorney Ron Barsamian, who represents Pleasant Valley Flowers, said the nursery’s ownership has changed since the plaintiffs were employed there but the new owners wanted a swift resolution.
“The current owners feel very strongly about treating their workers fairly,” Barsamian said.
Gomez said the agency has several similar cases throughout the county in various stages of litigation.
“We hope that it sends a message that there are consequences to violating the law,” Gomez said.