West Covina, California

When the city of Covina attempted to convert agricultural land to south and east of its borders into sewage farm, the residents of that area fought back by incorporating the area into an independent city and called it West Covina in 1923. At that time there were fewer than eight hundred residents. Subsequent development and migration to the area, especially beginning in the middle of the twentieth century, led to a population boom in the city, which currently has almost one hundred nine thousand residents. The city’s development has taken place partly due to government programs to lure large retail and other consumer-oriented businesses, so West Covina has a high concentration of malls, shopping centers, cinema chains, and major restaurant chains. Yet the largest employer in the city is a hospital, which was established in 1962 as one of four campuses in a family of hospitals that cover the inland communities of Covina, West Covina, and Glendora. The main West Covina hospital employs just fewer than one thousand eight hundred people. Of the remaining top ten employers in West Covina, four of them are well-known national retailers with names everyone knows across the country, and one is a large-scale location belonging to a nationwide restaurant chain that originated in Orange County. The second largest employer is the local school district. El Monte is also the headquarters for a newspaper publishing group that provides newspapers for many of the surrounding communities in the San Gabriel Valley. This publishing group hires around two hundred sixty-four workers. The industrial “outlier” on the list of top ten employers is a manufacturer of aircraft batteries, which has been in business in West Covina for over thirty years, and which hires a little over two hundred workers.

West Covina has irregular surrounding borders. In addition to Covina, other northern neighbors are, from east to west, Vincent, Irwindale, and Baldwin Park. To the west are North El Monte, El Monte, and South El Monte. To the south is a patchwork of communities including Avocado Heights, Valinda, The City of Industry, Hillgrove, South San Jose Hills, and Rowland Heights. West Covina’s eastern neighbors are Walnut, Diamond Bar, San Dimas, and Pomona. Racially and culturally speaking, the diversity in West Covina is rather balanced, especially compared to the Gateway Cities that lie to the city’s west and southwest toward Los Angeles, which have a much higher concentration of Latino and Hispanic residents.

Given that West Covina is by and large a center for retail, dining, and movies, the residents there may see the city as having much to offer in terms of diversions and enhancements to their lifestyle. However, finding gainful employment in such an environment may be more difficult. With the exception of the public school and city government, the medical facilities and the battery manufacturer, jobs that pay a livable wage and offer sufficient hours may be difficult to find, and employees in jobs in the retail, dining, and entertainment sector may find themselves given only part-time work and may have to take on multiple jobs to earn a sufficient income. Meanwhile the employers can take advantage of the pool of desperate workers to keep the wage down, and to take advantage of employees who need to keep whatever jobs they can in various ways that violate the workers’ rights. For instance, a hiring manager may feel empowered to sexually harass an employee who may fear that reporting the harassment might lead to termination. If you feel your rights as an employee have been ignored or violated, or if you have been terminated for fighting for your rights with your employer, contact our office for a free consultation.