The Labor Commissioner’s Office collected $1.1 million in wages and penalties resulting from a prevailing wage assessment against general contractor Stronghold Engineering and its subcontractor, Perry Coast Construction, both based in Riverside. The wages collected will compensate 74 workers for underpayment of prevailing wages owed for their time working at the Monterey Conference Center, as well as nearby Portola Plaza in Monterey.
California Public Works laws were enacted to protect and benefit workers and the public. The laws guarantee minimum wages on publicly funded projects and provide opportunities for employment to apprentices.
“The law requires that workers on construction projects financed with $1,000 or more in public funds must be paid no less than the prevailing wage,” said Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower. “These workers were cheated out of their hard-earned wages, and contacted my office to hold Stronghold Engineering and Perry Coast Construction accountable for their actions.”
The Labor Commissioner’s Office opened its investigation in May 2017 after a complaint of public works violation was filed by a worker claiming underpayment of prevailing wages, as well as unpaid overtime and holiday rates, fringe benefits, and travel expenses.
The investigation also found that Perry Coast Construction failed to comply with apprenticeship standards or with public works contractor registration requirements.
The Labor Commissioner’s Office cited Stronghold Engineering and Perry Coast Construction in October 2020 for underpayment of prevailing wages to 74 workers, liquidated damages and interest on the wages, and training funds. Both the contractor and subcontractor filed a joint request for review in December 2020, but eventually agreed to resolve all claims with the Labor Commissioner’s Office for $1.1 million to be paid to the affected workers, and withdrawing their joint request for review in July 2023.
The Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, also known as the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, combats wage theft and unfair competition by investigating allegations of illegal and unfair business practices.
All workers employed on public works projects must be paid the prevailing wage determined by the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations, according to the project’s type of work and location. Failure to comply with public works requirements can result in civil penalties, criminal prosecution, or both. Employees with questions about their rights may call the Labor Commissioner’s Office at 833-LCO-INFO (833-526-4636).
Read press release on CA Department of Industrial Relations