Orange County home-care operators have agreed to pay $1.1 million in back pay to employees to solve a federal wage dispute, officials said Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney approved a consent judgment in June requiring Lilibeth Ortiz and her husband, Geraldo Ortiz, who operate residences in Lake Forest and Mission Viejo, to pay the back wages to 66 employees, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The couple operate Nuzon Corp., Margaret's Villa Inc., Fil-Lyd Investments LLC and JuanJo Investments.
The company's employees cared for clients with developmental disabilities for long hours, with some workers racking up 87 hours a week, according to the Dept. of Labor. Because they were paid a flat rate and denied overtime, that averaged out to $4 an hour, officials said.
The two also violated anti-retaliation laws by threatening to evict some of the live-in employees when settlement talks broke down, officials said. The two also "coerced employees into signing false or misleading statements about their working conditions," according to the labor department.
A message left with Nuzon Corp.'s attorney was not immediately returned.