Enforcement of Public Works Law

The Labor Commissioner's Office monitors and enforces compliance with public works law and works with district attorneys' offices around the state to prosecute violations. The Labor Commissioner's Office enforcement priority is to recover and pay employees' stolen wages.

Investigations may be triggered by a complaint filed by an employee, a former employee or the general public.

Common Public Works Violations

  • Worker misclassification
  • Under-reporting of hours
  • Failure to report all workers
  • Demands that worker pay wage kickbacks
  • Failure to fund fringe benefits

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Violations may result in:

  • Restitution of wages owed, plus interest and liquidated damages
  • Monetary penalties
  • Debarment of up to three years
  • Criminal prosecution
  • Reimbursement of investigation costs to DIR

Contractors and subcontractors share monetary responsibility (known as joint and several liability) for all monies due as a result of a violation.

What Must Contractors Do to Comply with the Law?

  • Keep and submit certified payroll records
  • Comply with apprenticeship standards
  • Pay prevailing wages

What Must Awarding Bodies Do to Comply with the Law?

  • Provide notice of registration requirement
  • Require proof of registration before accepting a bid or awarding a contract
  • Post or require contractors to post job site notices
  • Inform DIR of all public works projects awarded

Violators in the News

49 Years in Jail and over $635,000 Owed for Short-Changing Employees

The owners and managers of PCN3, a public works contractor based in Los Alamitos, were charged with 77 felony counts of taking and receiving workers' wages and committing forgery and other fraudulent activities in relation with a public works project. The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) and the Department of Industrial Relations collaborated in the investigation triggered by a complaint from the International Brotherhood of Iron Workers.

Hilton Hotel Project Owes over $8 Million in Unpaid Wages

The order follows a decision by the California Court of Appeal confirming a determination by the Department of Industrial Relations that the Hilton Hotel project, which received $46.5 million in rent credit from the San Diego Unified Port District, was indeed a public works project. All workers on public works projects must be paid at the rates set by the Department of Industrial Relations.


October 2016