Court Upholds One-Year Debarment of Prevailing Wage Violator

A California court of appeal upheld the one-year debarment of a construction company that failed to pay prevailing wages on a public works project.  Debarment is issued by the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement to prevent a company from being able to bid or work on public projects for the stated time period. 

In 2007 and 2008, DLSE conducted investigations regarding public works projects on which Pacific Engineering Company was a subcontractor.  Pacific had won a contract and submitted timesheets for one of its workers, Miguel Ibarra, that purported to show that he worked 25 hours in a week and was paid a prevailing wage ($36.10 per hour).  But Mr. Ibarra testified that he was only paid $15/hour, and worked 61 hours that week, and had a paystub from Pacific Engineering to prove it.

As a result of these investigations, DLSE issued penalties against Pacific, issued a decision stating that Pacific committed willful violations with intent to defraud, and ordered a one-year debarment of Pacific.  The DLSE concluded that Pacific violated the public works laws in not paying prevailing wages to Ibarra and in not paying prevailing overtime to two other workers.  

The court upheld the DLSE’s decision, finding that it was supported by Mr. Ibarra’s paystub, despite the fact that Mr. Ibarra didn’t independently remember or keep record of the number of hours he worked on the week in question.

By Russell Naymark

Legal Developments