California Bars Contractor for Three Years After Wage Violations

The California Labor Commissioner's Office has barred a Vallejo contractor from participating in publicly financed projects for three years because it failed to pay prevailing wages on public works projects in 2006 and 2007. Lee's Sheet Metal, Heating and Cooling, Inc. and its principals, Madison Thomas and Mary Caroline Thomas, cannot bid on or receive any public works contract for three years. The prohibition, officially known as a debarment, begins Aug. 1, 2008.

"This company purposely tried to deceive its employees and the State of California," said Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet. "We will take strong action against anyone who operates outside the law which creates an unfair business advantage over others who follow the public works laws as required."

The Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issued three Civil Wage and Penalty assessments against Lee's Sheet Metal for each of the three public works projects known as the Nut Tree Projects in Vacaville.

Specifically, Lee's Metal Roofing was cited for willfully and fraudulently failing to:

  • Pay the prevailing wage rates;
  • Pay the correct overtime rates and
  • Maintain accurate payroll records for their employees.

At the debarment hearing, evidence was presented that Lee's Sheet Metal demanded kickbacks from their workers to keep working on the projects, paid overtime at straight time rates, and falsified payroll records.

The nature of the violations was serious--the kickbacks and the intent to defraud and to deceive another person or entity under Labor Code 1777.1 warranted debarment. The company paid $61,000 in settlement of the assessments.

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