200-Plus Construction Workers Denied Fair Wages by Drywall Co.

April 5, 2010

Calif. Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that his office has secured back pay for more than 200 workers who were “routinely denied” fair wages and overtime pay by Charles Evleth Construction Inc., a Bakersfield, Calif.-based drywall company.

“To boost its profits and underbid competitors, Charles Evleth Construction routinely denied its hardworking employees a fair wage and overtime pay,” Brown said.

In addition to providing back wages for more than 200 construction workers, today’s settlement prohibits Charles Evleth Construction from:

  • Denying fair wages and overtime pay for workers;
  • Paying employees in cash to avoid state and federal taxes; and
  • Permitting supervisors to take kickbacks from their employees’ paychecks.

The settlement follows a January 2009 suit Brown filed in Kern County Superior Court against Charles Evleth Construction to recover unpaid wages for workers who were denied full paychecks and overtime pay.

Brown’s office initiated its investigation in late 2008 and found nearly 1,200 violations of California law. In addition to wage violations, the investigation found that the company had failed to pay unemployment insurance, make state disability fund payments and pay state and federal taxes.

These practices allowed the company to gain an unfair advantage over its competitors and underbid them for construction jobs.

In the complaint filed in January 2009, Evleth was sued for violations of:

  • California Labor Code section 510 for denying overtime pay;
  • California Labor Code section 226 for failing to provide itemized statements detailing rate of pay, hours worked, deductions and pay period;
  • California Labor Code section 1197 for failing to pay minimum wage;
  • California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order 16 (8)(b)) for requiring workers to bring their own tools without paying at least twice the minimum wage;
  • California Labor Code section 221 and 223 for allowing supervisors to take kickbacks in exchange for being allowed to work; and,
  • California Labor Code section 221 and 223 for allowing employees to split paychecks in cash.

Source: AG

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