SEATTLE — Cash America, an international pawnbroker company, has agreed to pay nearly $380,000 to employees at its three Seattle locations after the Office of Labor Standards investigated claims including that the company paid employees less than the city’s minimum wage.
253 workers employed by Cash America West, Inc. and First Cash, Inc. (Cash America Pawn) will be receiving a portion of a financial remedy totaling $379,125.73 as part of the settlement.
The two companies will also pay $4,746.96 to the city of Seattle.
According to OLS, the companies allegedly failed to pay employees Seattle’s minimum wage, currently set at $17.27 an hour for large employers, and provide required rest and meal breaks during their shifts.
“Cash America was not being fair to their associates as far as sick pay and wages. I am glad that me stepping forward was able to hold them accountable and that the other associates will get the wages they earned,” said David Alvarez, a former Cash America employee. “Moving forward my hope is that the associates will feel safe to step forward if this continues or happens again.”
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Cash America also allegedly violated the city’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, which requires employers to provide employees with paid leave for reasons including caring for themselves or a family member when they’re sick or when a family member’s school or care provider has been closed.
“This settlement shows that violations of Seattle’s labor laws can happen regardless of the size of the business,” said OLS director Steven Marchese. “Employers must make workers and their rights a priority. A business’s success depends on treating its workers fairly, including compliance with all existing labor laws.”
Along with the financial settlement, the companies have also agreed to provide their Seattle employees with notices of employment information and develop and implement a written PSST policy and meal and rest break policies.
“Cash America takes pride in and stands by our employees. We fully cooperated with OLS to ensure that our employees continue to be well compensated and have full access to all possible benefits. We have always strived to comply with the statutes in good faith,” said Cash America in a statement.
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