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Los Angeles hotel workers strike over pay and working conditions

Employees of a local Los Angeles hotel recently staged a one day strike to bring awareness to their situation. The workers of the Holiday Inn Los Angeles International Airport claim that the hotel is breaking employee laws protecting against unsafe working conditions. For example, according to employees, at least one employee had a severe allergic reaction to pesticides used at the hotel to combat bed bugs. Employees have filed a complaint with Cal-OSHA. Cal-OSHA will likely investigate the claim to ensure that the Holiday Inn is complying with all safety regulations.

In addition to the safety concerns, the employees also claim that the Holiday Inn is breaking minimum wage laws -- specifically the Los Angeles living-wage ordinance. Under the Los Angeles living-wage ordinance businesses must pay employees at least $10.70 an hour and health insurance benefits or $11.95 an hour with no benefits. Furthermore, employees must be given at least 12 paid days off per year. Hotel employees say these rules have been violated and that workers are owed millions of dollars. As a result, the workers have filed a lawsuit against the hotel. Some workers have even been fired over the strife.

The Holiday Inn, on the other hand, claims that no wrongdoing has taken place. The hotel maintains that all safety regulations have been followed. Furthermore, the Holiday Inn asserts that all employees of the hotel are treated fairly.

California employers, like the Holiday Inn, have large leeway in how they treat their employees. However, the local, state and federal governments have all enacted workers rights laws which set a minimum standard of how workers need to be treated. When these laws are violated, employees may have legal remedies. Like the workers in this case, a lawsuit may provide some compensation for mistreatment.

Source: NBC 4, "Holiday Inn LAX Workers Protest Ahead of Thanksgiving Holiday," Stephanie Miranda, Nov. 19, 2012

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