According to a spokesman for the California Department of Industrial Relations, the California Labor Commission filed a lien on a Holiday Inn Express in an effort to recover nearly $250,000 in wages for 31 construction workers. The lien filed by the labor commission is a mechanics' lien, meant to recover funds for materials and unpaid employee wages. Following an inspection in March, the commission, along with the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration and California's Labor Enforcement Task Force, discovered that the property owners were in violation of safety regulations as well as wage and hour laws.
The inspection came about following a complaint by Carpenters Local 751 alleging labor law violations. It found that some employees' checks were bouncing and the construction site had 13 workplace safety violations, including failure to provide fall protection and scaffolding, unguarded saws and unsafe ladders. The property owners hadn't made any public comments about the lien as of Aug. 13, but they have the option of appealing it. If they take that route, a hearing would be required.
The state has said that further investigation into the matter is required. In some cases, employees may have been paid in cash to avoid a paper trail. While not able to speak specifically about this case, a spokesman stated that it's normal for investigators to have to go over payroll records to see if a violation took place. The labor commission has the option to take further action as the investigation proceeds.
Employers have a variety of laws that they must follow in relation to ensuring that employees are compensated appropriately and in a timely manner. If someone has not received wages that they're owed, a lawyer could help them understand their rights, explain their options and help them pursue compensation.
Source: Times-Standard, "Labor law violations alleged at new Holiday Inn Express; lien seeks more than $247,600 in unpaid wages", Lorna Rodriguez, August 13, 2013