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Ex-Employee Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against Santa Barbara Detective Agency

A former security guard for Santa Barbara’s Case Detective Agency has filed a class-action lawsuit against the investigative firm, alleging he was not paid overtime and was often paid in cash without proper wage statements.

Santa Barbara lawfirm Anticouni & Associates filed the complaint this week in Santa Barbara County Superior Court against Craig Case, who owns the investigative agency and provider of uniformed security officers in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties. 

In the lawsuit, former employee and county resident Jeffrey Harris alleges Case violated California’s wage-and-hour laws by failing to pay overtime and minimum wage, failing to reimburse for business expenses, engaging in unfair business practices and more. 

Harris worked as a security guard for the agency from May 15, 2015, until Dec. 5, 2015 — predominantly in Santa Barbara and Montecito — and was paid on an hourly basis, attorney Bruce Anticouni said.

“Defendants did not keep timecards, they relied on plaintiff and other class member to total their hours for the week, and defendant would often pay them in cash,” the lawsuit states.

Anticouni said the class-action case would seek nearly $1 million in damages and could involve between 75 and more than 100 current or former non-exempt hourly employees from the past four years.

The penalty for issuing an incorrect itemized wage statement — Case allegedly failed to pay the agency’s Social Security share, unemployment insurance and state disability — is $100 per pay period, Anticouni said.

“That adds up very quickly,” he told Noozhawk, noting that another plaintiff might be added to the original complaint. “We’ve had a number of calls from (impacted) people.”

The lawsuit also alleges hourly employees weren’t allowed a meal period of at least 30 minutes when shifts exceeded five hours, according to California Labor code, and weren’t paid in a timely fashion, since accurate payroll records weren’t maintained.

Case, who did not respond to requests for comment, was described in the complaint as “willful or reckless.”

Anticouni is asking for payment of lost wages, reimbursement of business expenses, damages and attorney fees.

Anticouni & Associates has prosecuted and settled close to 100 California wage-and-hour class actions, according to the firm.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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