Attorney General files lawsuit against construction company for violating labor, pay laws

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California Construction News staff writer

California Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced a lawsuit against a Southern California-based construction subcontractor alleging ongoing wage and hour violations. A copy of the complaint is available here.

The lawsuit alleges that West Coast Drywall & Company, Inc., (which conducts business as West Coast Drywall & Paint) 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 of 2019.

“Workplace laws are essential for the benefit and safety of California workers,” Attorney General Bonta said in a news release. “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.”

West Coast Drywall & Paint is headquartered in Riverside County with a satellite office in San Diego County. The company 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, according to the news release.

The Attorney General alleges the pay practices and labor law violations is the company’s piece-rate compensation system which pays field employees for each piece they complete at a promised rate. 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 to obscure an employer’s failure to fully compensate their workers for all hours worked.

DOJ’s 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.

Anyone that currently or previously worked for West Coast Drywall & Paint can contact the Worker Rights & Fair Labor Section about this lawsuit, please contact us via email at WorkerRights@doj.ca.gov or by phone at (619) 643-3340. Assistance is available in both English and Spanish.

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