California sues Riverside drywall company for allegedly failing to pay wages – Press Enterprise

Feb 1, 2024 | Canyon Crest Guide Newspaper | 0 comments

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California is suing Riverside County-based West Coast Drywall & Paint over alleged wage and hour violations.

Attorney General Rob Bonta’s lawsuit alleges that the subcontractor failed to pay employees wages owed, overtime wages, provide accurate and complete itemized wage statements, reimburse for tools and equipment, and provide mandated breaks for its field employees since at least August 2019.

“Workplace laws are essential for the benefit and safety of California workers,” Bonta said Thursday in announcing the suit from Los Angeles.

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“The California Department of Justice is here to protect workers from exploitive businesses like West Coast Drywall & Paint. Bottom line, if you are a company that is taking advantage of workers, we will prosecute you. My office will continue to stand up for the rights of workers across the state.”

A message requesting comment left with a company manager was not immediately returned.

West Coast Drywall & Paint advertises that it is the largest drywall and painting subcontractor in Southern California, providing its services to some of the state’s largest home builders, including KB Home, Lennar Homes, and Shea Homes. In the past four years, the company employed about 7,000 workers, the vast majority as drywall and painting field employees, the AG said.

Also see: Corona man, mastermind of $2 million theft of jobless benefits, sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison

According to the complaint, filed in Superior Court in San Diego County, central to West Coast Drywall & Paint’s pay practices and labor law violations is the company’s piece-rate compensation system. Under the system, instead of paying a fixed hourly wage, the company pays its field employees for each piece they complete at a promised rate, the suit says.

Although piece-rate compensation systems like the one used by West Coast Drywall & Paint are common in the construction industry, they are often abused by employers who obscure their failure to fully compensate workers for all hours worked, Bonta said.

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More on wage theft: Wingstop franchise owner to pay $667,414 for violations

Bonta’s office said the investigation revealed that West Coast Drywall & Paint did not provide legally mandated information to employees about the number of pieces that formed the basis of their pay, making it impossible for workers to accurately calculate the wages they were owed.

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