Latino Viva Supermarket Employees File Suit Against ‘Tyrant’ Owner/Sacramento City Council Candidate

Latino Viva Supermarket Employees File Suit Against ‘Tyrant’ Owner/Sacramento City Council Candidate

By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – Sean Loloee – a Sacramento City Council candidate in District 2 – is being accused by community activists of being a “tyrant” employer who withheld overtime pay and committed other labor law violations in a class action Sacramento County Superior Court lawsuit

The lawsuit is on behalf of mostly monolingual Spanish speakers who work at Loloee’s “Viva Supermarkets” in Sacramento, Dixon and Rancho Cordova – the suit alleges Loloee is guilty of failure to pay overtime, and provide meal periods or rest periods, among other claims, according to community activist Maria Grijalva.

Grijalva is with the Latino Information and Resource Center, Chicano Latino Caucus for the CA democratic party, LULAC and other organizations.

She said the employee abuse “falls into the human labor trafficking category” because, she explained, employees “report working up to 100 hours a week at minimum wage, without overtime, vacation time, sick leave or workman’s comp under two different social security numbers assigned by Loloee and Loloee’s General Manager Karla Montoya.”

Grijalva charged that “Loloee is described as a tyrant by employees; never smiling. Employees report sexual harassment and threats. Workplace injuries include burns, falls; one woman remains in a coma after a fall. Employees report an increase in stress levels, including blood pressure levels, due to their work environment.”

She also claims that investigations have been conducted by state and federal agencies, including the CA Labor Commissioner, Employment Development Dept., IRS, federal Human Trafficking Agencies, among others because of “complaints which have been lodged against Sean Loloee aka Viva Supermarkets; SL One Global Inc.; SMF Global Inc.; Fresh Pak Produce, LLC; Uni Foods, Inc.; Nari Trading, Inc.; Nari Properties, LLC; Nari Properties 2.”

At a press conference in front of Loloee’s Norwood Ave store in Sacramento, Grijalva said she was there to “denounce human trafficking…violations happening under our nose at Viva Supermarket, at this moment.”

She said workers have been “subjected” to years of “forced labor and exploitation,” including an 18-year-old employee who was “required to sell alcohol and cigarettes.”

In the lawsuit provided by Grijalva, the plaintiffs listed include Carlos Rodriguez Saavedra and Anthony Martinez Razo, citing the causes of action for “overtime wages, meal and rest period premiums, wage statement violations, waiting time penalties, failure to reimburse expenses, and unfair competition under the California Labor Code and Industrial Welfare Commission’s Wage Orders.”

Defendants include SMF Global, Inc., VFVA Supermarket, Fresh Pak Produce, SL One Global Uni Foods and Nari Trading Inc.

The complaint alleges that workers in the class, over the past four years, regularly worked at Viva Supermarkets more than eight hours a day and 40 hours a week – but defendants did not add the total numbers worked at each of the stores and failed to pay overtime wages.

The pleading also alleges that employees were not able to take all meal and rest breaks, required them to wear uniform and then deducted the uniform charge from their wages when they began work, and also when the employees returned their uniforms when they left the employ of Viva Supermarkets,

The suit asserts that employee member of the class were routinely issued “defective” pay stubs and statements that misstated their correct earnings.

The lawsuit was filed in March of 2019 by Galen Shimoda, Justin Rodriguez and Erika Sembrano of the Shimoda Law Group in Elk Grove.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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1 Comment

  1. Alan Miller

    I am confused by the ‘human trafficking’ charge.  I don’t see it in what was outlined, unless they are using a different definition than here:  “Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.”

    Loloee is described as a tyrant by employees; never smiling.

    No smiling:  that locks it.

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