San Diego—The labor commissioner’s office cited JPI Construction for $ 1.7 million for wage theft offenses affecting 265 workers. An investigation found that the San Diego-based company failed to properly pay workers on commercial and residential construction projects, resulting in minimum wage and overtime violations.
The Office of the Labor Commissioner opened an investigation in March 2019 after receiving a report of labor law violations indicating that JPI Construction workers were experiencing wage theft because they were only paid 40 hours per week. despite the fact that they regularly worked overtime on mixed-use construction projects in San Diego. and areas of Los Angeles.
The investigation found that from April 2018 to March 2019, employees performing structural and drywall work were paid a flat rate that did not include overtime. This has resulted in frequent violations of minimum wage and overtime. Investigators interviewed workers and checked the employer’s payroll records to identify violations. The audit found illegally altered timesheets that suppressed the recording of overtime that workers should have been paid.
“Paying workers a flat rate is no excuse to deny them the overtime they’ve earned and should be paid,” California Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower said. “California laws protect workers. It is essential that workers keep track of their hours and pay so that they can defend themselves. “
The citations total $ 1,771,133, of which $ 1,610,527 is payable to workers. The amount owed to workers includes minimum wage and overtime, waiting time penalties for non-payment of full wages on time, and damages payable to workers for non-payment of minimum wage for all hours worked. The citations include $ 143,200 in civil penalties payable to the state.
The owners have appealed the quotes. As part of the appeal process, the Office of the Labor Commissioner will hold a hearing before a hearing officer who will confirm, modify or reject the citations.
Labor law violations have been reported by the Carpenters / Contractors Cooperation Committee, a non-profit employer-union organization.
When workers are paid less than the minimum wage, they are entitled to damages equal to the amount of the underpaid minimum wage plus interest. Wait time penalties are imposed when the employer intentionally fails to pay all wages owed to the employee upon separation. This penalty is calculated by taking the employee’s daily rate of pay and multiplying it by the number of days the employee was unpaid, up to a maximum of 30 days.
Workers who believe they were not paid properly, or who have questions about other labor laws such as retaliation, can contact the office of the labor commissioner. Dial 833-LCO-INFO (833-526-4636) or contact the office closest to your workplace.
The Labor Standards Enforcement Division of the Department of Industrial Relations, or the California Office of the Labor Commissioner, combats wage theft and unfair competition by investigating allegations of illegal and unfair business practices.
In 2020, the Office of the Labor Commissioner launched an interdisciplinary awareness campaign, “Reaching Every Californian”. The campaign amplifies basic protections and opens pathways to affected populations so that workers and employers understand legal protections and obligations, and labor
Contact: [email protected], (510) 286-1161