Glendale construction firm faces $6.3 million lawsuit for misclassification and wage theft

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office sued a construction company for worker misclassification and wage theft violations. The office is seeking damages of more than $6.3 million.

Glendale-based Calcrete Construction, Inc. allegedly misclassified 175 workers as independent contractors. The lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, affects 249 construction workers.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office began looking into the construction firm’s employment practices in October last year. It discovered that Calcrete failed to pay workers for overtime, allocate pay for sick leave and provide proper wage statements.

In addition, the company threatened its workers with termination if they did not sign contracts that indicated their independent contractor status. Calcrete had staffing agencies pay the workers rather than paying them directly.

Workers misclassified as independent contractors do not receive the protections that employees typically receive. As a result, they may be vulnerable to wage theft and retaliation. In addition, such workers may not be eligible for workers’ compensation if they suffer an injury in the workplace.

“It is illegal for employers to use subcontractors to distance themselves from the obligation to pay workers, and we will use every tool to dissuade employers from this scheme,” Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su said in a statement. “This lawsuit aims to recover the money these misclassified workers should have been paid after years of wage theft.”

Calcrete workers typically spent 10 to 12 hours at work from Monday through Friday, and worked eight hours on Saturdays. According to the lawsuit, they were only paid their regular hourly rate instead of the overtime they deserved. The workers were allegedly underpaid from 2014 to 2016.

The lawsuit is seeking civil damages totaling around $2.6 million payable to the workers as well as about $3.7 million in penalties payable to the state.