Protect Yourself and Report Contractor Fraud

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You’re a professional in your trade, and you’ve worked hard to get there. If the contractor that hired you is not paying you your full wage, then YOU are being cheated and THEY are committing fraud. This is not only unfair, but it is against the law and can cause hardship and injury to you, your co-workers and your family.


If your employer is withholding any part of your compensation or paycheck he’s taking money from your wallet, stealing resources from you and your family, and shortchanging your’s and their future.

Plain and simple You are being Ripped Off.

The good news is, there is something you can do about it. Even if you continue to work until the job is finished, you may be able to recover wages and benefits owed to you. Without being labeled a whistleblower or troublemaker you can protect yourself, your fellow workers and family from being taken advantage of. Your boss makes sure that he gets paid every dollar owed to them, Why shouldn’t YOU?

Contractor fraud is a growing problem in the Southern California construction industry, but the District Attorneys of Riverside and Orange County have your back, and want your help in bringing these crooked bosses to justice.

First of all: Know your rights.

If you’re working on a public works project funded by the city, state or county, then you are entitled to receive the county mandated prevailing wage for your trade and classification. The information should be posted at your worksite.

If it is not, then log on to the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations website at www.dir.ca.gov

Or click on this link
www.dir.ca.gov/oprl/DPreWageDetermination.htm

Prevailing wage is a combination of an hourly pay rate plus fringe benefits. Payment of prevailing wage ensures that contractors hire qualified workers so the government agencies will receive quality work. If you are hired on a public works project and not being paid prevailing wage for your trade…

you are being cheated.

The ways that fraudulent contractors or crooked bosses can use to cheat you out of being paid prevailing wage include:
Asking you to sign a blank time card

Asking you to use part of your pay to pay another worker

Paying you … even partly … in cash

Requiring you to refund some of your pay claiming it was a loan

Even threatening to fire you if you don’t work for less

If a contractor is underpaying you on a prevailing wage project, then chances are, they are probably cheating you in other ways. And these other ways can happen on ANY jobsite and include:

Under-reporting your wages to the Employment Development Department

Unemployment benefits are determined by reported wages earned on the job.

You’ll want all your unemployment benefits when you need them

If your boss insists that you not report on-the-job injuries, or if he pays the doctor for you in cash He is probably failing to fully fund your worker’s compensation insurance. Construction industry injuries are a genuine risk.

If you are injured on the job you will need every benefit owed to you, not just a visit to the ER

Other ways of cheating you also include

Claiming you as an independent contractor without your agreement or

Not making promised retirement and medical contributions toward your fringe benefits

These are all serious violations of penal and labor codes. When contractors or bosses are caught, they face large fines and even jail time, but most important to you, they are held accountable for all the wages and benefits they stole from you and your co-workers, However, these scam artists bosses don’t always act like jerks.

They may seem like hard-working, fair bosses, even fair-minded, friendly folks hosting barbecues and acting like they have your best interests in mind. But what kind of friend would cheat you and your family out of your hard earned money? And worse, cheating you out of your benefits, putting your health, your future, and your family’s health and future at risk?

As a professional in your trade, it is very important that you protect the investment you make every time you step foot on the job.

You earn your money. No one has the right to cheat you out of it.

You would stick up for your family if a crook tried to rob you.

These contractors or cheating bosses aren’t breaking into your home but they are stealing from you all the same. There are simple, confidential things you can do every day on the job that will dramatically increase your chances of recovering losses.

Keep a journal from day one. You can use pencil and paper or make entries on your smartphone, you can even use the voice recorder on your phone it only takes a few moments each day to make notes. Start with primary information like your contractor’s name, their company’s name and license number. Note the jobsite address and the name of the project. List your co-workers names, their job classifications and titles.

Make a note of anything that you feel is not right or questionable that you are asked to perform, like working above your classification and skill level. It is very important to keep track of your hours, the days you have worked, and what jobs you have performed. Use your cell phone camera, take selfies of yourself on the jobs site, when you arrive and when you leave each day, or at the bank if your asked to give part of your paycheck back to your boss or share it with others workers, if you or a co-worker is injured take photos on the job site and at the medial office.

Make photos or copies of documents, and anything you that you fill-out or are forced to sign

Do you fill out a time card? Take a picture of it. at the beginning and end of your work period

Do you sign a log? Take a picture of it.

Who pays you? Is there a payroll office? Who keeps track of your hours?

Keep your pay stubs and any other documents or correspondence from your employer.

You work hard for every dime you make. Now More than ever, Every dollar counts. It’s your money. Don’t let anyone steal it from you. Ultimately, if you feel you are being cheated, then you need to contact a reporting agency as soon as possible

Besides the DIR there are a number of resources available to help you.

If you feel you are being ripped off, use these links to learn more or report possible fraud.

California’s Department of Industrial Relations

Department of Industrial Relations

Contractor State License Board

The Center for Contract Compliance

The Labor Enforcement Taskforce

Employment Development Department

Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 444 (Riverside County)

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 477 (San Bernardino County)

Orange County District Attorney’s Office

Riverside County District Attorney’s Office

 

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