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SoCal newspaper workers get $5M in lawsuit

The paper is based in Monterey Park
March 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The Chinese Daily News must pay $5.19 million to 200 workers who claimed they were forced to work 12-hour days without overtime or lunch breaks, a judge ruled.U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall on Thursday added penalties and interest to the $2.5 million that a federal jury last year initially awarded as compensation for unpaid overtime, meal and rest breaks.

"This ruling is significant in that it tells employers that they cannot take advantage of immigrant and non-English speaking workers," said a statement from Cornelia Dai, one of the attorneys for the workers.

All of the $5.19 million will go to the workers, and the judge will set legal fees later, another attorney, Randy Renick, said Friday.

"We're confident that this is all going to be reversed on appeal," said Steve Atkinson, an attorney who represented the newspaper.

The employees filed a class-action suit against the Monterey Park-based, Chinese-language paper in 2004, alleging labor law violations.

Atkinson argued that the workers were professionals who were exempt from the work laws, and that they mainly worked from home.

"These reporters never came to the office ... maybe once a week for a training session. So they were on their own to take breaks and lunches," he said.


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