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File a Public Works Complaint

If you have experienced wage theft on a publicly-funded project, file a public works complaint.

An employee, former employee, or anyone wishing to report a violation of the State's public works laws can file a complaint. Generally a public works project means "construction, alteration, demolition, or repair work done under contract and paid for in whole or in part out of public funds."

Prevailing wages are predetermined wages that are higher than the State minimum wage and must be paid on most public works projects.

You may file a public works complaint for violations such as:

  • unpaid prevailing wages, including unreported hours
  • unpaid overtime, including overtime prevailing wage rates required for weekends and holidays
  • unpaid travel reimbursements or benefits
  • misclassification of pay grades
  • paychecks returned due to insufficient funds

If you experienced additional labor violations not listed above, you may also file a wage claim.

How to file a Public Works Complaint

  • If you are a worker on a public works project, complete the Worker Complaint form. Be sure to sign and date it and include copies of any documents that support your complaint.
  • If you did not work on the public works project but are aware of a labor law violation(s), you can report it using the Public Complaint form.
  • If the work was performed in the following counties:
    Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara or Ventura, mail your complaint to:

    DLSE – BOFE Public Works
    Attn: Complaints Unit
    300 Oceangate, Suite 850
    Long Beach, CA 90802

  • If the work was performed in any county not located in the counties listed above, mail your complaint to:

    DLSE – BOFE Public Works
    Attn: Complaints Unit
    2031 Howe Avenue, Suite 100
    Sacramento, California 95825

Learn More

How to Report a Labor Violation on a Public Construction Project

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What Happens Next

After you file a public works complaint, an investigator will begin an investigation. An investigator may contact you for more information and will obtain information from the employer and the agency that awarded the project. The Labor Commissioner's Office will issue citations for unpaid wages and penalties if it finds a violation.

Violators in the News

49 Years in Jail and over $635,000 Owed for Short-Changing Employees

The owners and managers of PCN3, a public works contractor based in Los Alamitos, were charged with 77 felony counts of taking and receiving workers' wages and committing forgery and other fraudulent activities in relation with a public works project. The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) and the Department of Industrial Relations collaborated in the investigation triggered by a complaint from the International Brotherhood of Iron Workers.

Hilton Hotel Project Owes over $8 Million in Unpaid Wages

The order follows a decision by the California Court of Appeal confirming a determination by the Department of Industrial Relations that the Hilton Hotel project, which received $46.5 million in rent credit from the San Diego Unified Port District, was indeed a public works project. All workers on public works projects must be paid at the rates set by the Department of Industrial Relations.