Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 6:20 pm | Partly Cloudy 65º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Sports

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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >