office has secured back pay for more than 200 workers who were "routinely
denied" fair wages and overtime pay by Charles Evleth Construction, Inc., a
Bakersfield-based drywall company.
"To boost its profits and underbid
competitors, Charles Evleth Construction routinely denied its hardworking
employees a fair wage and overtime pay," Brown said. "Today's judgment secures
back pay for more than 200 employees and prohibits this company from violating
In addition to providing back wages for more than 200
construction workers, today's settlement prohibits Charles Evleth Construction
– Denying fair wages and overtime pay for workers;
employees in cash to avoid state and federal taxes; and
supervisors to take kickbacks from their employees' paychecks.
settlement follows a January 2009 suit Brown filed in Kern County Superior Court
against Charles Evleth Construction to recover unpaid wages for workers who were
denied full paychecks and overtime pay.
Brown's office initiated its
investigation in late 2008 and found nearly 1,200 violations of California law.
In addition to wage violations, the investigation found that the company had
failed to pay unemployment insurance, make state disability fund payments and
pay state and federal taxes.
These practices allowed the company to gain
an unfair advantage over its competitors and underbid them for construction
In the complaint filed in January 2009, Evleth was sued for
– California Labor Code section 510 for denying overtime
– California Labor Code section 226 for failing to provide itemized
statements detailing rate of pay, hours worked, deductions and pay period;
California Labor Code section 1197 for failing to pay minimum wage;
California Industrial Welfare Commission 16 (8)(b)) for requiring
workers to bring their own tools without paying at least twice the minimum wage;
– California Labor Code section 221 and 223 for allowing supervisors to take
kickbacks in exchange for being allowed to work; and,
– California Labor
Code section 221 and 223 for allowing employees to split paychecks in cash.
Juan Manuel Avalos of Bakersfield worked for
Charles Evleth Construction for five months in 2005. Avalos was hired with a
verbal agreement to work five days a week for $750 per week in pay. However,
when Avalos started, he was required to work six days a week and often worked
12-hour shifts without overtime pay. Avalos was paid in cash every week, but
discovered two months into the job that a site supervisor had been cashing his
paychecks and taking up to $500 every week from his pay, leaving Avalos what
remained in cash.
Last month, Brown filed two other lawsuits against
companies that failed to pay workers and subjected employees to potentially
dangerous workplace conditions, including:
– A lawsuit filed March 10
against Juan Munoz, a farm labor contractor in Southern California, for failing
to provide rest breaks, potable drinking water or shade to field workers.
A lawsuit filed March 3 against Livermore-based Country Builders after the
company falsified payroll records to hide underpayments, deliberately
misclassified workers to reduce the company's workers' compensation premiums and
violated state prevailing wage laws.
If you, or someone you know, have been a victim (or suspect you have been a victim) of
Wage & Hour Abuse
Please call or e-mail me immediately at
(323) 852-1100 or firstname.lastname@example.org