San Diego Warehouse Paid Mexican Workers Less Than $4 an Hour, Must Pay Back Wages: Labor Dept

The U.S. Department of Labor said Premar Global Warehouse Logistics paid 16 Mexican nationals as little as $3.38 per hour

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 A San Diego customs warehouse company has been ordered by a federal judge to pay $235,000 in back wages and penalties for paying its warehouse workers below minimum wage and failing to pay overtime, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday.

Premar Global Warehouse Logistics paid 16 Mexican nationals employed as merchandise checkers as little as $3.38 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which said the workers were paid in pesos despite the fact that all their work occurred in San Diego.

With average wait times around two hours at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, border businesses struggle with labor shortage, reports NBC 7's Melissa Adan

The agency said the company also did not pay overtime when the employees worked more than 40 hours in a work week.

Under a consent judgment approved last month by U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan, Premar, its owner Tomas Martinez Leal, and Export Dynamics de Mexico, which Premar operates in Tijuana, must pay $154,100 in overtime back wages and $75,900 in minimum wage back wages to the 16 workers.

A $5,000 civil monetary penalty was also imposed against the company. The order also outlines that Premar must hire an independent third party to conduct supervisor training as to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, in addition to other conditions assuring compliance with the FLSA.

"This case is a wake-up call to the customs warehouse industry. Paying a workforce as little as $3 an hour will not be tolerated," Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Ruben Rosalez said.

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