Retail food establishments in Santa Clara County owe a tremendous amount to their workers. According to data shared by the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement in 2015, workers in the Santa Clara County filed the highest number of wage theft claims in the State of California. A County analysis of judgments filed between January 2015 and September 2019 found that retail food vendors owe nearly $5 million in back wages to employees, which is an estimated $2,900 per employee.
In view of especially problematic wage theft practices in the restaurant industry and the vulnerability of retail food workers, the Board of Supervisors approved Phase I of the Food Permit Enforcement Program to encourage payment of existing judgments by conditioning the issuance, renewal, or retention of food facility permits on compliance with labor standards.
How It Works
The Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) in partnership with the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health - Consumer and Environmental Protection Agency (DEH) will engage retail food vendors with current existing judgments for labor violations such as unpaid wages to encourage payment of such judgments.
If a retail food vendor is determined to be in violation of their judgment for non-payment, the County of Santa Clara may elect to temporarily suspend or revoke the vendor's food health permit.
For more information about the program please contact the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement or call the OLSE Advice Line for assistance with compliance. Callers may remain anonymous.
What to Expect
The Food Permit Enforcement Program will launch Phase I of its operations in the cities of Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and San Jose (Zip Code Areas 95112 and 95113). Food Facility Permittees with existing judgments for violations that fall under the OLSE scope of enforcement can expect to receive Notices of Existing Judgments beginning December 2019. The Food Permit Enforcement Program will expand operations to other Santa Clara County cities in subsequent phases until it is fully operational in all fifteen cities that comprise Santa Clara County.