So. Calif. contractor to pay $1.4 million in OT

Legal News Line Sep. 9, 2008, 12:00pm

Jerry Brown (D)

SANTA ANA, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California Attorney General Jerry Brown has announced a settlement will repay blue-collar workers in Southern California $1.4 million in restitution for overtime not paid and rest breaks not allowed.

Brown sued Interwall Development Systems, an Orange County drywall contractor with offices in Irvine and Laguna Beach, in January on behalf of about 400 employees who were allegedly not paid properly for work done on behalf of the company.

"This settlement will right a wrong that's been inflicted on the hard-working employees of Interwall," Brown said. "The company tried to increase its profit on the backs of its workforce, by denying employees rest breaks and overtime pay. With this agreement, Interwall will now be required to pay its employees a proper wage for every hour of work they performed."

The settlement, approved by the judge in Orange County Superior Court, prohibits the company from circumventing state labor laws, according to the attorney general's office, which states $674,396 will be paid to resolve unpaid overtime claims, $303,607 will be paid to resolve interest claims on the overtime and $425,996 will be paid as compensation for past and current employees who were forced to work through state-mandated breaks.

The company will also pay $200,000 in civil penalties.

This settlement is the latest in a series of lawsuits Brown filed on behalf of workers in California, according to the attorney general's office.

Last December, Brown sued two janitorial companies, Excell Cleaning & Building Services and MO Restaurant Cleaning Services, for committing violations of California's basic wage and hour laws. Brown also sued Brinas Corporation, a Southern California drywall contractor, found to be paying workers below minimum wage and also denying overtime wages.

The state was awarded nearly $1.4 million in the Brinas case in June. Brown also sued PacifiStaff, a company that was teaching construction companies how to avoid providing state mandated workers' compensation benefits.

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