Employment and Prevailing Wage

As of January 1, 2018, direct contractors in California who make or take a contract “for the erection, construction, alteration, or repair of a building, structure, or other private work” are jointly and severally liable with their subcontractors for any unpaid wages, fringe benefits and other benefit payments or contributions owed to wage claimants. Governor Brown approved AB 1701 on October 14, 2017. The new law puts the onus on direct contractors to not only monitor their own payroll practices, but to ensure that their subcontractors and lower tier subcontractors are engaging in proper payroll practices.
Continue Reading Direct Contractors In California Should Take Steps Now To Reduce Exposure For Unpaid Wages By Subcontractors

Public agencies have little, if any, discretion when awarding public contracts because they are required to award the contract to the lowest bidder, subject to certain minimum qualifications.  These limitations are designed to protect the public and its financial interests, not the bidders.  Losing bidders typically can contest the award only by challenging the bid itself via bid protest, or the bidding process.
Continue Reading Second-Lowest Bidder for Public Contracts May Sue Lowest Bidder Who Paid Less Than Prevailing Wages

California has enacted several statues, effective January 1, 2014, which will likely increase contractors’ and subcontractors’ exposure to claims for prevailing wage violations on public works projects.  Under the Prevailing Wage Law, Cal. Labor Code § 1720 et seq., contractors and subcontractors working on public works are required to pay the wages prevailing in the locality, and to comply with several record-keeping and employee work schedule requirements.  Violations of the law subject a contractor or subcontractor to claims for unpaid prevailing wages, and a variety of assessments and penalties.  The recently-enacted California statutory provisions increase the time period in which the claims for violations of the Prevailing Wage Law may be brought, increase the scope of remedies available to private entities seeking to enforce the Prevailing Wage Law, establish deadlines for the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations to issue coverage determinations as to whether a project qualifies as a public work under the Law, and generally increase the risk of liability under the Law.
Continue Reading New California Statutes Potentially Increase Contractors’ and Subcontractors’ Liability Exposure Under the Prevailing Wage Law

By Edward B. Lozowicki

As residential and commercial construction markets evaporate and contractors fight for survival, new opportunities are appearing in the form of public infrastructure projects. The federal government is pouring money into public infrastructure and construction projects, to the tune of about $143 billion in total. Of that total, about $14 billion is designated for the California market. In addition, the State continues to fund projects from Proposition 1B and 1C bonds, and gas tax revenues. Much of the money will fund infrastructure projects awarded by the state and local government agencies. These new opportunities, however, come with new risks. One such risk is a general contractor’s liability for its subcontractors’ unpaid or under-paid employees on public infrastructure projects.
 Continue Reading General Contractors’ Liability to Subcontractors’ Employees On Public Infrastructure Projects

A California Court of Appeal has declared that Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) Wage Order 16-2001 (“Wage Order 16”), regulating wages, hours and working conditions for employees in the on-site construction and mining industries, is valid.   If they have not already done so, employers in the construction industry should promptly ensure their practices comply with all of the requirements of Wage Order 16, including whether a new alternative workweek schedule election is necessary.  See Small v. Superior Court, 55 Cal. Rptr. 3d 410 (2007).
Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Declares Wage Order 16 Valid

On May 8, 2006, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") arrested 76 undocumented workers and 4 construction site managers at Fischer Homes, Inc. worksites in Kentucky. Fischer and its managers were charged criminally with harboring and transporting undocumented workers for financial gain. Tax investigators were also involved. On May 2, 2006, ICE carried a similar operation against a stucco contractor in Indiana, and charged the owner with harboring and money laundering. Both operations took place under the new Homeland Security "get tough" policy against companies who use undocumented workers.Continue Reading Labor Through Contract Theory of Sanctions Liability

In Bearden v. U.S. Borax, Inc., a California Court of Appeal was asked to decide the validity of a provision in the Industrial Welfare Commission’s Wage Orders that exempts employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement from California’s meal period rules. The court held the provision conflicted with the meal period statute and was therefore invalid.Continue Reading California Wage Order Provision Exempting Employees Covered By Collective Bargaining Agreements From Meal Period Rules Found Invalid

In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeal in Violante v. Communities Southwest Development and Construction Co. held that employees on public works projects may only sue their own employer for alleged prevailing wage violations.Continue Reading Employees Limited To Claims Against Their Employer For Alleged Failure To Pay Prevailing Wages On Public Works Projects

Safety is important to all of us, but did you know you could be subject to criminal penalties, as well as civil penalties, for violating standards set by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)? These penalties include prison sentences of up to four years and up to $3.5 million in fines.

The following information, derived from Sections 6423 and 6425 of the California Labor Code and from Section 192 of the California Penal Code, is designed to give you a general overview of the penalties you could receive for committing violations of OSHA guidelines. It does not constitute legal advice! Due to the serious nature of the penalties that may be incurred for such violations, you should consult with legal counsel for further guidance and clarification.
Continue Reading Criminal Penalties For Violating OSHA Standards