Suit filed against farm contractor over wages

MONTEREY, Calif. -- California labor officials are suing a farm labor contractor for $1.6 million over allegations the company failed to properly pay 150 farmworkers.

In a suit filed Tuesday in Monterey County Superior Court by California Labor Commissioner Julie Su, the commissioner claims that a Greenfield farm labor contractor, Salvador Zavala Chavez, violated the law by failing to provide minimum wage and overtime to workers.

The alleged violations happened from April 2009 to April 2012 at more than 10 work locations, most of them in Monterey County. State officials said the workers picked lettuce and worked in grape fields over ten hours a day without receiving overtime pay.

The lawsuit seeks $1.26 million in unpaid wages, overtime and penalties for the workers.

Attempts to reach the contractor for comment were unsuccessful.