Feds sue Dixon supermarket owner over labor violations
A Sacramento business owner is being sued by the U.S. Department of Labor over allegations that he underpaid workers at four of his supermarkets and threatened them with deportation if they cooperated with federal investigators.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in April, accuses Sean Loloee of underpaying workers at his four Viva-branded supermarkets in Northern California, including a former location in Dixon that is now a Mexican meat market.
In addition to the wage claims and alleged threats, federal labor investigators say Loloee directed teenagers employed at his store to carry out tasks that they were untrained for or were otherwise too dangerous for minors to do, including operating meat grinders and scheduled them to work more hours than were allowed under federal labor laws.
Loloee has faced similar labor accusations in the past, according to the Department of Labor complaint. Twice, he has agreed to pay back wages to workers who were shorted, according to settlements reviewed by Solano NewsNet, including a 2020 settlement that saw the business owner disburse more than $35,000 to workers who were shorted in their paychecks.
That same year, Loloee allegedly pressured some of those workers to give back the money, according to the Department of Labor’s most-recent complaint. He also allegedly directed workers to lie to federal investigators and threatened them with deportation if they did not, the complaint said.
A law firm representing Loloee said the recent labor complaint was politically-motivated; it was filed as Loloee was running for a seat on the Sacramento’s city council. He has since faced public allegations that he does not reside in the Del Paso Heights neighborhood he represents, but instead lives in a Granite Bay home owned by his wife. Loloee told a Sacramento TV station that the claims about his residency were false and frivolous.