SANTA ANA, CA – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $180,299 in back wages and damages from three Orange County residential construction contractors whose employment pay practices violated federal regulations and denied workers their rightful and legal wages.Some of the violations related to an employer’s misclassification of employees as independent contractors, a common violation in the construction industry that deprives workers of full and proper wages, benefits and worker protections under federal law. The recovery follows investigations by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found the Southern California companies violated their workers’ rights. In total, the division recovered $90,150 in back wages plus an equal amount in liquidated damages for the affected workers. The division also assessed the employers $5,319 in civil money penalties.The division settled with the employers administratively after finding the following infractions:Skeffington Enterprises Inc., a Santa Ana general contractor operating as Ben’s Asphalt, denied workers their full earnings by not paying them overtime premium rates for hours over 40 in a workweek due to the employer’s deduction of hours for lunch breaks not taken. The division recovered $111,253 for 20 employees.Ziegler Inc., an Anaheim manufacturer and installer of garage doors and iron gates, failed to pay workers minimum wage and overtime wages. The department recovered $54,964 in back wages and liquidated damages for 19 employees and assessed $3,324 in penalties for the willful violations. ABC Builders LLC, a construction contractor in Costa Mesa, misclassified security guards as independent contractors, failed to pay required overtime for hours over 40 in a workweek and did not keep time records or report all employees on payroll. The division recovered $7,041 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for three workers and assessed $1,995 in penalties. “Common labor law violations in the construction industry include employee misclassification, piece-rate paid workers not properly compensated for overtime, paying straight-time rates for overtime and not paying for all hours worked,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Min Park-Chung in San Diego. “The time is now for employers to do the right thing by complying with the law and paying workers all their earnings.” Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Employers and workers can call the division confidentially with questions, regardless of their immigration status. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free, also available in Spanish.This news release is also available in Spanish.
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