Employment and Prevailing Wage

Binding arbitration of construction disputes is frequently required by standard industry contracts. For example, the contract forms published by the American Institute of Architects either require or provide an option for arbitration under the Construction Industry Rules of the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”). The latter rules authorize the arbitrator to decide whether the contractual arbitration agreement is enforceable. (See, e.g. Rule 9 of AAA Construction Industry Rules). However some courts have decided this issue should be determined by the courts, rather than the arbitrator.
Continue Reading Arbitrators can decide validity of arbitration provision in construction contracts

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