Employees at a high-end apparel store in San Diego’s Fashion Valley mall have accused the owner of failing to pay them for a month’s worth of work and despite repeated attempts have still not received checks.
“Everyone’s checks have bounced or they have not received their pay. We basically worked as slaves for a month and we did not get paid,” said one employee who was hired to work at Rein, an equestrian lifestyle apparel store that opened in late November at Fashion Valley.
NBC 7 Responds met with three former employees, all of which requested to remain anonymous, who said they were excited about their new jobs at Rein but shortly after getting hired they began to have doubts about the company and the store’s owner.
“We had to borrow cleaning supplies, a ladder, we relied on the neighbor’s wifi in order to make the sales,” said one of the employees.
Those employees are now speaking out in hopes of preventing others from falling victim to the store’s owner, Jelica Baker.
“The fact that she was comfortable with someone’s child not having a Christmas, forcing someone to live out of their car, or miss their student loan or car payment, that is a monster thing to do,” added one of the former employees.
They said that while they all had suspicions about the legitimacy of the store before it opened in late November, it wasn’t until their first check that they realized something was amiss.
“When I first saw that check, I knew it was not real,” said one employee. “The check did not have the bank’s name on top of it. I had to look up the account number to find the name of the bank.”
And when they did find out the name and location of the bank branch, the three employees all said they were told there were no funds in the account.
“The teller told me that they didn’t know if the company was legitimate or not, all they could tell me was that there were no funds in the account.”
Now, the former workers are speaking out and have since filed claims with the Department of Labor against the store as well as the store’s owner, Jelica Baker.
NBC 7 Responds reached out to Baker with questions about the claims from her former employees. Baker said her attorneys would respond to questions, however, after repeated attempts no response has been given. Baker did confirm that the store was now closed.
According to the Better Business Bureau website, Baker’s company has received complaints before, from several customers who say they never received the items they paid for at the Saddle Shoppe in San Francisco.
For now, the employees said they will wait to hear from the state on how to get their money. In the meantime, they remain worried this is not the end.
“She has all of our information, social security, W2s... she has everybody’s credit card information, and she has our information, it’s scary.”