FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2009-01
January 7, 2009

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
Erika Monterroza
415-703-5050

Internet: www.dir.ca.gov


CA Labor Commissioner heads investigation in construction industry
Violations referred to San Francisco District Attorney for prosecution

San FranciscoDec. 30, 2008—Two Bay Area construction companies who were recently cited by California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet and referred to the San Francisco County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution were today charged with failing to obey a stop order and failing to secure workers’ compensation insurance.

“Under California law all employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance,” said Bradstreet. “By not doing so, employers operating illegally create an unfair competitive advantage over those who provide coverage to their injured employees. These illegal operations have a negative impact on our state’s economy and they do not provide the protection legally afforded to California Workers.”

Mehdi Karimi, doing business as Struct-Tech Group, Inc., and Philip McCarthy, doing business as Glenside Construction, were cited by Bradstreet during inspections on Oct. 15 and were each issued a stop work order for not having workers’ compensation. The next day, in a follow-up visit by investigators with the Labor Commissioner’s Office, both companies were found to be illegally continuing to employ workers without the proper coverage.  Both cases were immediately referred to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
 
The District Attorney’s Office conducted its own investigation into the matter.  A DA-warrant was issued for the defendants on Dec. 26 to notify them of the pending charges against them.  Philip McCarthy surrendered to authorities on Dec. 30 and was arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court on Dec. 31. His next court date is Jan. 25.  Karimi surrendered Jan. 6 and has a court date of Jan. 8 for the arraignment.

“Employers have a responsibility to adhere to the laws that ensure workers’ on-the-job safety,” said San Francisco District Attorney Kamala D. Harris. “When these regulations are ignored, we have a duty to act to bring these employers into compliance.”

Karimi based in Berkeley was assessed a $2,000 penalty for having two employees on the job in violation of the stop work order, and McCarthy located in San Francisco was assessed a penalty of $5,000 for having five employees on the job in violation of the stop work order.

“I am pleased that District Attorney Kamala Harris acted on our referrals,” said Bradstreet.  “The actions of the Labor Commissioner and District Attorney should send a strong no tolerance message to employers who seek to violate California’s worker’s compensation laws.”

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints, and enforces state labor law and Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders.

To learn more about the functions of the California Labor Commissioner, visit our web site at www.dir.ca.gov/dlse.  Employees that have work-related questions or complaints can call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757.

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