Monday, March 18, 2013

Ogundare v. Dep't of Industrial Relations (Cal. Ct. App. - March 18, 2013)

Justice Kane's opinion in this case seems right on target to me, and I'm not sure how the trial court thought it could possibly been otherwise.

Pacific Engineering Company bid on a public works project (which was 99% of its work) and agreed to pay its employees prevailing wages.  It won a contract and submitted timesheets for one of its workers, Miguel Ibarra, that purported to show that he worked 25 hours and was paid a prevailing wage ($36.10 per hour).  But Ibarra testified that he was only paid $15/hour, and worked 61 hours, and had a paystub from Pacific Engineering to prove it.  In short, that Pacific Engineering faked his pay (and screwed Ibarra out of overtime pay to boot).

Pacific Engineering's only argument is that Ibarra's evidence is insufficient to prove that it wilfully violated the prevailing wage provision of the contract because Ibarra said that he didn't have an independent recollection of precisely how many hours he worked on that particular week.

Seriously?  That's the best argument you can come up with?  I currently don't know how many hours I worked during the week ending August 4, 2007 either.  But if my paystub that the company gave me that week says I worked 61 hours, that's pretty darn good evidence that I in fact worked 61 hours that week.  Especially if I know full well how much they paid me -- $15/hour -- and the paystub reflects that my gross pay that week was $915.  Particularly when combined with the fact that Pacific's counsel can't come up with any explanation for why the figures on my paystub are so radically different than the figures submitted to the state other than the lame excuse that the people in payroll must have been confused.  How that results in two radicially different sets of books that just happen to come out to the exact same total is unexplained.

So the trial court gets reversed, and Pacific Engineering has to wait a year before it can bid on any more public works projects.

Seems right to me.