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Release Number: 2021-18
February 16, 2021

California Labor Commissioner’s Citation of Drywall Contractor for Nearly $2 Million in Wage Theft Violations Affirmed

Long Beach—A hearing officer has upheld the Labor Commissioner’s wage theft citations of nearly $2 million to a Southern California drywall contractor affecting 472 laborers who worked on 26 construction projects throughout Southern California.

In 2018, the Labor Commissioner’s Office cited Fullerton Pacific Interiors Inc. $1,964,679 for wage theft violations and civil penalties. The workers who did taping and drywall installation at hotel, recreation centers and casino projects in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties from August 2014 to June 2016 were paid a daily rate that did not properly compensate them for overtime hours and rest breaks, and 28 workers were paid less than minimum wage.

Fullerton Pacific Interiors Inc. appealed the citations, and the hearing officer affirmed each citation in January after a non-continuous 10-day administrative appeal hearing conducted throughout 2019. 

“This decision affirms that workers at Fullerton Pacific were not paid legal wages,” said Labor Commissioner, Lilia García-Brower. “This outcome serves as a reminder to employers that law-breakers will be held accountable.”

The investigation into Fullerton Pacific Interiors Inc, began in June 2016, after a referral to the Labor Commissioner’s Bureau of Field Enforcement (BOFE) from the Carpenters/Contractors Cooperation Committee. BOFE’s wage audit identified 472 workers employed during the violation period did not receive lawful rest periods, 289 were not paid overtime and 28 were paid less than minimum wage.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office issued citations for minimum wage violations, liquidated damages, overtime violations, rest periods violations, failure to comply with itemized statement provisions and waiting time penalties.   

When workers are paid less than minimum wage, they are entitled to liquidated damages that equal the amount of underpaid minimum wages plus interest. Waiting time penalties are imposed when the employer intentionally fails to pay all wages due to the employee at the time of separation. This penalty is calculated by taking the employee’s daily rate of pay and multiplying it by the number of days the employee was not paid, up to a maximum of 30 days.

The Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, or the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, combats wage theft and unfair competition by investigating allegations of illegal and unfair business practices.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office in 2020 launched an interdisciplinary outreach campaign, “Reaching Every Californian.” The campaign amplifies basic protections and builds pathways to impacted populations so that workers and employers understand legal protections, obligations and how to defend them.

Contact: Paola Laverde / Erika Monterroza, Communications@dir.ca.gov, (510) 286-1161