Terranea Resort
Terranea Resort

Lawsuit Claims Ritzy Resort Stiffs Its Food, Hospitality Workers

Workers at a luxurious Rancho Palos Verdes resort are being ripped off by their employers, a Superior Court class-action lawsuit brought by the legal firm Teukolsky Law alleges.

The filing claims that restaurant and hospitality workers at the 102-acre Terranea Resort are forced to cut short breaks, clock in for inaccurate time periods and take time-consuming shuttles to the property without extra compensation.

In a statement, the resort denied the allegations.

"Terranea Resort strictly adheres to and abides by all labor laws," according to an email from the property's publicity firm. "We value each of our associates and are committed to ensuring fair treatment and compensation for their time and dedication. At this time, we have not received a copy of the alleged document and therefore cannot comment on its contents."

The suit seeks unspecified damages exceeding $25,000 for allegations including minimum-wage violations, failure to pay overtime, unreimbursed expenses, rest and mealtime violations and more.

In an attempted twist of the knife, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, Lauren Teukolsky, tried to tie Terranea to its Rancho Palos Verdes neighbor, Trump National Golf Los Angeles.

"The expansive property is located up the Pacific Coast from the Trump National Golf Course," according to a statement from the Teukolsky Law firm. "In September 2014, Luxury Travel Magazine reported that the Terranea Resort and Trump National Golf Club had formed a strategic partnership, including packages to jointly promote vacation experiences at Terranea along with golf at Trump National. A partnership is apparently still ongoing: Terranea promotes Trump National on its website and offers to assist patrons with reservations and transportation."

That's not the case, at least not any longer, according to an email from the defendant's representatives: "Terranea Resort does not have any affiliation or partnership with Trump National Golf Club."

The filing alleges that Terranea, which includes eight restaurants, a spa and a nine-hole golf course, conspired to reduce payouts to the plaintiffs by "unlawfully evading compliance with state labor laws" and by "failing to provide meal periods, rest breaks and other labor rights mandated by law."

One alleged example: During busy spring and summer months, employees were required to park at distant off-site lots and take a company shuttle to work. The time involved was not compensated, the suit alleges. Terranea security patrolled nearby streets and reported parked vehicles suspected to belong to workers, according to the suit.

"I live in Mid-City Los Angeles," Terranea cook Galen Landsberg said in a statement. "It’s frustrating that, on top of the long commute, we have to come in early to take the company’s shuttles from the offsite lots and are not paid for this time."

Additionally, "Defendants have instructed Plaintiffs and their co-workers to fabricate their time records to make it appear as if they took a meal period they did not actually take," according to the filing.

The suit seeks restitution, punitive damages, injunctive relieve and that most valued of Southern California rights, on-site parking.

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