IR #2013-04
January 24, 2013

Peter Melton
Erika Monterroza
(510) 286-1161

Twitter @CA_DIR

California Labor Commissioner Issues a Public Works Assessment for Nearly $1 Million against a Los Angeles Contractor

Los Angeles—California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su has ordered Ace Cooling & Heating Corporation, a heating and air contractor, to pay $824,570.63 in wages, $23,685.12 in training fund contributions and $114,300.00 in fines for failure to pay 10 employees the proper wage for their work on the El Camino Community College Bookstore Modernization project in Torrance.   The Labor Commissioner issued a civil wage and penalty assessment in an effort to collect the money owed to the workers.

“Construction contractors should take notice that the Labor Commissioner has reinvigorated and  focused her public works enforcement efforts to provide a fair and level playing field for construction businesses who comply with public works laws," said DIR Director Christine Baker.  

“In this case, sheet metal workers were paid between $8.50 and $16.00 per hour and were significantly underpaid on this project,” Labor Commissioner Su stated.  “This is a classic example of wage theft and my office will take immediate action against a business who steals money from its workers.” 
An investigation by the California Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), also known as the Labor Commissioner's office, uncovered evidence which established that the Los Angeles-based company, Ace Cooling & Heating Corporation, willfully violated the law by failing to pay proper prevailing wages on a public works project at El Camino Community College.  Ace intentionally underpaid its workers between $39 and $46 per hour. 

El Camino Community College hired a Los Angeles-based general contractor, Mackone Development Inc., who in turn contracted with Ace to perform the heating and air work for this project.  The Labor Commissioner also served a civil wage and penalty assessment against Mackone.

“Prime contractors are jointly and severally liable for their subcontractors who fail to follow California’s labor law,” continued Labor Commissioner Su.  "It is our practice to investigate all parties responsible for labor law violations to put the proper incentive on decision-makers in construction projects to deal only with honest, law-abiding contractors."

The California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (Labor Commissioner’s Office) adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints, and enforces state labor law and Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders. Information on the functions of the California Labor Commissioner is available on the DIR website as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757 for recorded information on a variety of work related topics.

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