Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

Meet DA Nancy E. O'Malley

Restitution In Excess of $330,000 Paid to Victims of Wage Theft

Oakland, CA -- Today, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O'Malley announced that her office has secured restitution for the victims in the Calvin Harris prosecution. Payment of $339,347.89 was made to nine victims at the defendant’s sentencing hearing.

“I am pleased to announce that the victims in this matter have been reimbursed in full for their financial losses. My office is steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that victims of all crimes receive the restitution owed to them," stated DA O'Malley.

"We remain diligent in enforcing the laws that are in place to protect the rights of workers and employee, as one of the most fundamental of those is the right to be paid a full and fair wage for the work that they do,” she said.

Background

In February, 2015, the DA’s Office secured eight felony convictions against licensed electrical contractor, Calvin Harris (Harris Electric), for failing to pay his employees the prevailing wage and for filing false documents to hide his illegal conduct. The violations of the law occurred over the course of four years.

Calvin Harris/Harris Construction entered into contracts with government entities which required the employees to be paid the prevailing wage for their work. The law also required Harris to report, under penalty of perjury, that he and his company were paying prevailing wages to the workers on the construction sites. In both areas, Harris violated California law.

In March of 2012, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, along with the California Department of Industrial Relations and the California Department of Insurance, conducted an investigation of Calvin Harris (dba Harris Electric), a California licensed electrical contractor. The investigation began as a result of two courageous Harris employees who reported being the victims of wage theft to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 595.

The two employees of Harris Electric worked on electrical contracting jobs that included Alameda County General Services Agency (Santa Rita Jail Solar Project), the Port of Oakland, and the City of Fremont. Harris Electric had been awarded public works contracts for these projects.

Contractors who are awarded public works projects are required by state law and by contract to pay their employees a 'prevailing wage'. The prevailing wage includes not only employee wages but also additional benefits such as a health plan, a pension, and training. California prevailing wage law assures a level playing field when contractors bid on projects, and also ensures a properly skilled and properly paid employee for each labor position.

On public works jobs, contractors must file 'Certified Payroll Records' with each public entity as a check to safeguard that the prevailing wage is paid. Calvin Harris personally filed, or directed his office staff to file, false certified payroll records to conceal that he did not pay most of his workers the required prevailing wage. A comparison of Harris’ payroll records for the Alameda County projects revealed employee wage theft violations of $339,347.89.

Mr Harris entered guilty pleas in this matter and stands convicted of four violations of felony wage theft. In addition to the restitution payment, Mr Harris was placed on five years of felony probation, ordered to complete 200 hours of community service, and serve 60 days in the county jail. He is not allowed to profit in any way from public works jobs during his 5 years of probation.

Posted on Dec 10, 2015