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California Construction Workers to receive $242,301 in Overtime Settlement

October 16, 2009

Our Orange County, California Labor and Employment Attorneys, have been following the recent settlement between SelectBuild, a subsidiary of Building Materials Holding Corp. (BMHC), once the nation's largest residential construction contractor, and 85 residential construction workers from California, Arizona and Nevada.

The wage and hour lawsuit was settled in a federal lawsuit last month, in the amount of $242,301 in unpaid overtime wages, to be shared between the workers.

The workers' suit was supported by the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), and claimed that BMHC Corp., as well as its subsidiaries routinely failed to compensate workers for hours worked, overtime or rest breaks, and did not pay workers for travel time between job sites, and while they waited for the arrival of materials.

The company denied all charges, but agreed to settle in the suit. In June, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In a related blog post, our attorneys discussed the recent academic study surveying more than 4,000 low-wage workers in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. The study, "Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers," exposed serious minimum wage and overtime compensation violations.

The study found that employees in residential construction and other industries, reflect a sizable population of employees who experience wage theft. The researchers also noted that the federal inspections enforcing overtime laws and minimum wage declined between 1980 and 2007, by almost one-third, while the work force in the country grew by more than half.

The study also reported that over a quarter of workers who worked more than forty hours weren't paid for the overtime during the previous week. Of these, seventy-six percent of workers were not compensated for the legally required rate by their employers. Over two-thirds of workers were forced to work through breaks.

According to a report released last year by LIUNA, wage and hour fraud is rampant in the home-building industry. The report claimed that homebuilders, led by Pulte Homes, the largest corporate builder in the country that often used BMCH for labor, were pressuring contractors to cut costs to the point that this was the only way to compete in the business--causing a "Wal-Martization" of the industry.

Jose Ivan Carpio, a Santa Ana worker in the California wage theft lawsuit, worked for three years at BMHC corp. building condos in Orange County, California. He earned $14 an hour, putting in more than 10 hours a day, working frequently on weekends, and never received overtime. When business slowed, his hourly wage dropped to $10 an hour, and his hours were reduced. He was recently laid off.

Our Anaheim-based Labor and Employment Lawyers are experienced in defending wage and hour claims and will help find a resolution to your dispute. In cities throughout Orange County, California, contact Howard Law, PC today.

BMCH Workers--Building for Pulte Homes, Other Homebuilding Corporations--Win $241K in Wage Fraud Suit, LIUNA Press Release, October 8, 2009

Builder to Pay 85 Workers $242,301 in Overtime Settlement, Los Angeles Times, October 13, 2009

Web Related Resources:

Laborers' International Union of North America