OSHA Cites Contractor $1.7M Over 'Wage Theft'
The California Labor Commissioner’s office has cited JPI Construction $1.7 million for wage theft violations affecting 265 workers.
An investigation reportedly found that the San Diego-based company failed to pay workers properly on commercial and residential construction projects, resulting in minimum wage and overtime violations.
The Labor Commissioner’s office opened an investigation in March 2019 after receiving a report of labor law violations indicating JPI Construction workers were experiencing wage theft because they were only paid for 40 hours a week despite consistently working overtime on mixed-use construction projects in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas.
The investigation reportedly found that from April 2018 to March 2019, employees doing framing and sheetrock work were paid a flat rate that did not include overtime. This resulted in frequent minimum wage and overtime violations. Investigators interviewed workers and audited the employer’s payroll records to identify violations. The audit uncovered illegally modified timesheets that removed record of the overtime hours the workers should have been paid.
The citations total $1,771,133, with $1,610,527 payable to the workers. The amount owed to workers includes minimum wage and overtime, waiting time penalties for failure to provide full pay on time, and liquidated damages and interest payable to workers for failure to pay minimum wage for all hours worked. The citations include $143,200 in civil penalties payable to the state.
The owners have appealed the citations. Under the appeal procedure, the Labor Commissioner’s office will hold a hearing before a hearing officer who will affirm, modify or dismiss the citations.