Wholesale Bakery Owes Workers Nearly $1.3 Million in Back Wages and Damages

On January 25, 2021, the California Labor Commissioner issued citations and filed a lawsuit against Baked in the Sun, New Vista Baking LLC and private equity firm HCAP Partners III, L.P to collect around $1.3 million unpaid wages and damages 189 workers are owed [1]. The Labor Commissioner’s Office were notified of the wage violations after 70 former workers filed wage claims.

How Former, “Baked in the Sun” Wholesale Bakery Allegedly Violated State Wage Laws

The California Labor Commissioner announced it filed a lawsuit and issued citations for a number of establishments including, New Vista Baking, a wholesale bakery formerly known as, Baked in the Sun. The wholesale bakery shut down their operations at the end of 2018. Workers were notified of the mass layoffs in November 2018. However, the bakery shut down their operations without paying workers their last 2 weeks’ pay or any of their accumulated vacation pay.

Labor Commissioner, Lilia García-Brower said the foundation of her office’s actions against the former baker and other entities “is their failure to fulfill their legal obligations to pay workers what they’re owed ahead of all other financial obligations once a business is sold” [2]. California law requires workers be paid first when a business closes and its assets are sold. The lawsuit alleges, shortly after Baked in the Sun closed down in 2018, First Choice Bank acquired some of the bakery’s personal property excluding its accounts receivable. It further alleges, the acquired assets were sold to the new owners, New Vista Baking and Burton Foods, but the creditor failed to distribute the profits to Baked in the Sun workers.

Bakery’s Response to the Lawsuit

The general counsel for First Choice Bancorp, had no comments on the matter. Former Baked in the Sun owners, Rachel and Steven Pilarsky released a statement earlier this month arguing that their mezzanine lender, HCAP Partners, III, had control of their business once the couple was faced with financial difficulties. Their attorney argued “Mr. Pilarski and Ms. Shein tried their best to help the employees as the company was shutting down, but they had no access or company control and too much financial damage had been done under the mezzanine lender’s management for the employees to be paid in full.” New Vista and Burton Foods also released a statement alleging the companies did not have anything to do about the owed back wages. The 189 former Baked in the Sun workers have yet received what they deserve.

Reach Out to an Experienced Employment Law Firm for a Free Consultation

As employment attorneys in California, we are committed to ensuring our clients receive the rights they are entitled to as employees under state law, including both wages and accrued vacation payout you are entitled to as an employee. Going up against a previous employer in legal terms can be a difficult and stressful, but the right employment litigation lawyer can increase the strength of your case dramatically.

With some of the best employment law attorneys in California, we can provide you legal representation to help you reach the most ideal outcome.

Get in touch with Makarem & Associates for a free consultation over the phone at 310-312-0299 or email at in[email protected] to receive the right legal counsel.


[1] https://www.dir.ca.gov/DIRNews/2021/2021-17.html
[2] https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/story/2021-02-11/state-goes-after-former-vista-bakery-others-for-1-3m-in-workers-back-wages-and-damages

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