SAN FRANCISCO—A tour bus company is being sued by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera for allegedly failing to pay their part of their employees health care costs, which was filed on Thursday, October 10. 

The City Sightseeing tour bus company allegedly withheld $640,000 in legal healthcare fees for its 215 employees. The failure of payments occurred in a three-year span from 2014-2017.

City Sightseeing has been given every chance to do the right thing. Instead, Mr. Watts has thumbed his nose at the law. Now it’s time to hold him accountable and send a clear message: Following the law isn’t optional. We are going to make sure that cheating employees out of their health care isn’t worth it for a company’s bottom line, or for executives who try to hide behind their corporations. I want to thank my staff and the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement for their relentless work on this,” said Herrera in a statement.

The Office of Labor Standards has been investigating City Sightseeing since 2014. Large and medium businesses are required to help pay for a portion of their employee’s health care in one of three ways. Businesses can either: pay for insurance for their staff, contribute to programs that reimburse employees for out-of-pocket health care costs, or pay that money to the city, which uses it to provide medical coverage.

OLSE alleges that the company failed to cooperate in the investigation that led to 10 different fines and violations. The lawsuit seeks civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation against the companies and their CEO and managing partner, Christian Watts. Watts is the founder and CEO of Magpie Travel.

The lawsuit names the affiliated companies that have operated City Sightseeing: CS Global SF, LLC; SFTS, LLC; and Guest Service Solutions, LLC.  To date, the defendants have refused to make any of the payments the OLSE ordered them to pay to their current and former employees, and have refused to pay any fines.