California employees go to work to earn money. This money is usually very important for employees who need it to pay for their everyday needs and expenses. In order to make sure that California employees have enough money to meet their needs, employee laws include minimum wage laws. In California employees must earn at least $8.00 an hour in most cases. However, not every employer abides by these minimum wage laws.

Recently, the state of California has had to fine BYD a Chinese company that has been commissioned to build electric buses for the state. Currently, the company has a contract with Los Angeles to build 25 of these busses and a contract with Long Beach to build 15 buses. LA Metro has also agreed to try the busses and order up to 25 if they meet performance standards.

However, in order to complete these orders, the company brought five workers to the United States from China in order to train permanent employees and to install certain equipment for the busses in production. Each of these workers were temporary and were only to stay in the U.S. for between one and six months. During this time, the workers were earning as little as $1.50 an hour plus $50 a day in per diem. Since this rate was under California’s minimum wage laws, the company was fined nearly $100,000 by the state.

The company claims that it did not violate any employee laws. According to the company, it was not required to pay minimum wage because the workers are not subject to the state’s labor laws.

Employers who try to pay their employees less than can be punished. However, employees should still ensure that they understand the employee rights they are entitled too including minimum wage.

Source: Green Car Reports, “BYD Fined Over Wages On CA Electric-Bus Project Jobs,” Stephen Edelstein, Oct. 29, 2013