In January 2020, we received a DIR notice of Investigation. In May of the same year, we received a Civil Wage Penalty Assessment from the investigation. The DIR’s assessment was $276,500 from a series of alleged apprenticeship and journeyman wage violations on a closed project that lasted about a year. We were stunned beyond belief. Prior to receiving the DIR investigation, several of our employees attended a PWCA prevailing wage seminar. Impressed from the seminar, our employees unanimously recommended that PWCA review our DIR case against us. Instead, I sought guidance from our corporate counsel, until l learned how little he knew about certified payroll and the DIR/DLSE investigative process. Even so, my attorney’s retainer request was ridiculously high. Instead, I listened to my employees and went with PWCA’s much more knowledgeable and affordable legal team. In October of 2020, PWCA’s audit successfully uncovered over $200,000 in statutory and wage rate errors, resulting in a fine reduction to $78,000. As a result, we strongly recommend PWCA’s legal team should your company encounter a DIR/DLSE investigation.

Don McIntyre

ArborWorks Inc.

DLSE Legal Procedures

Your trust means the world to us. Now we have to do our part…

Now that you have entrusted PWCA with representing you in the above referenced DLSE case, here is our promise to you: We are committed to keeping you fully informed and “in-the-loop” as to what will be happening with your case as we battle with the DLSE investigators and attorneys behind the scenes.

Although every case presents unique twists and turns, our commitment remains consistent. Our goal is to keep you informed on each step in these proceedings as they unfold. So below is a series of Phases that you will receive from your compliance officer when you call for the status on your case:

Phase 1: Request for Payroll Records/Notice of Investigation:

According to Labor Code 1776 (h), you are required to submit the certified payroll records to the DLSE and PWCA within 10 days of the DLSE’s request.

Phase 2: Assessing and Auditing Payroll Records:

PWCA staff will begin assessing and auditing your payroll records so as to anticipate potential prevailing wage infractions the DSLE is investigating. Here is where we begin to build our defense strategy on your behalf.

Phase 3: The First Deadline:

The statute governing this request for payroll records permits the DLSE to assess an additional $100.00 per day beyond the ten (10) day submission deadline. PWCA’s proprietary approach prevents the DLSE from assessing this $100.00 per day penalty.

Phase 4: The Second Contact:

PWCA will confer with the Deputy Labor Commissioner.

Phase 5: The Waiting Period:

Now we wait pending a determination from the DLSE investigation. NOTE: The law does not mandate a fixed time in which the DLSE has to complete its investigation.

Phase 6: The DLSE Decision – AKA Civil Wage Penalty Assessment (CWPA)

At this point, the DLSE has completed its investigation.

Phase 7: Collecting Discovery / Evidence:

A PWCA representative will meet with the DLSE to review the evidence.

Phase 8: Cross-Referencing and Analyzing Evidence:

PWCA will cross reference the DLSE’s evidence against YOUR evidence so as to prepare a rebuttal to the DLSE’s claim.

Phase 9: Preparing Motions:

PWCA will begin scheduling dates with the labor commissioner’s office for pre-hearing motions and for the hearing date or mandatory settlement conferences.

Phase 10: The Status Conference:

At this point, the labor commissioner will instruct the attorneys/representatives on the labor code’s rule and procedures regarding settlement negotiations or a formal hearing should settlement talks fail.

Phase 11: Settlement Talks Begin:

Settlement talks between attorney/representatives commence.

Usually there are 2 to 3 negotiation sessions with the aim to avoid a costly formal Labor Commissioner hearing.

Phase 12: When Settlement Talks Fail

Should settlement talks fail, the Labor commissioner will hold another status conference for the purpose of setting a date for a formal hearing in front of the Labor Commissioner.

Phase 13: Prehearing Motions:

Prehearing motions and hearing exhibits will be ordered by the Labor Commissioner.

Phase 14: The Formal Hearing:

The formal hearing takes place on the date determined by the Labor Commissioner’s office.

Phase 15: A written decision will be issued by the labor commissioner within 60 days from the date of the formal hearing. From this decision, the losing party will have the right to appeal the labor commissioner’s decision.


At PWCA we are dedicated to safeguarding the employer’s labor law rights.

Call us: 559-570-2158