Ohio Supreme Court Rules that Contractors Must Be Assessed 100% Penalty for Violating State's Prevailing Wage Law
In Bergman v. Monarch Construction Company, the Ohio Supreme Court considered whether, in an employee-initiated enforcement action, the penalties set forth in Ohio Revised Code section 4115.10(A) are mandatory and must be imposed against a party found to have violated the prevailing wage law. In a 5-2 majority opinion, the supreme court rejected the reasoning adopted by the trial court and the Twelfth District Court of Appeals, both of which had interpreted the language in section 4115.10(A) as giving the trial court discretion to enforce the prevailing wage penalties. The supreme court observed that in section 4115.10(A), the phrase “may recover” refers to the choice the underpaid employee can make to enforce his or her right to recover the underpayment, not the court’s choice to enforce the penalties. Therefore, if the employee chooses to enforce his or her statutory right to recover unpaid wages, and successfully proves his or her case, a 100% penalty must be assessed against the employer for violating the prevailing wage law. For further analysis, see Littler’s ASAP Ohio Supreme Court’s Ruling on Penalties Ups the Ante for Contractors Subject to Ohio’s Prevailing Wage Law by Heidi Alten and Neil Grindstaff.
This entry was written by Neil Grindstaff.