By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — State officials cited El Super after the supermarket chain failed to pay or delayed paid supplemental sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19 in 38 stores across the state, 21 of which are in Los Angeles County. 

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office cited Bodega Latina, the parent company of El Super, for $1,164,500, after state officials found that the company forced some workers to work while sick, told others to apply for unemployment while quarantining or isolating and forced others to wait months before being paid. 

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The investigation began after the office received reports from the agency that represents grocery workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and complaints from individual workers. 

El Super disputes the Labor Commissioner’s findings and said that it paid over $1.6 million in COVID-19 sick leave.

“The claims made by the California Labor Commissioner regarding supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) are false,” El Super spokesperson Eric Rose wrote in a statement. “We are and have always been committed to complying with labor laws… Our reputation and relationships with our valued employees are over two decades in the making, which is why our employees put their faith in us. The citations which do not even explain the allegations are without merit, baseless and irresponsible.”

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According to officials, some employees were ordered to work until they received their COVID-19 test results even though they showed COVID-19 symptoms. 

The grocery chain has been cited once before at three stores in Los Angeles, Lynwood and Victorville. The Labor Commissioner’s Office said that 95 employees were forced to work under similar conditions. 

California’s Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law required businesses with 25 or more workers to provide up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to any workers affected by COVID-19. While the law expired on Sept. 30, the Labor Commissioner’s Office said that it will continue to enforce any violations while the law was still in effect from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)