(a) A joint labor-management committee established pursuant to the federal Labor Management Cooperation Act of 1978 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 175a) may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction against an employer that fails to pay the prevailing wage to its employees, as required by this article. This action shall be commenced not later than 18 months after the filing of a valid notice of completion in the office of the county recorder in each county in which the public work or some part thereof was performed, or not later than 18 months after acceptance of the public work, whichever occurs last.
(b) (1) In an action brought pursuant to this section, the court shall award restitution to an employee for unpaid wages, plus interest, under Section 3289 of the Civil Code from the date that the wages became due and payable, and liquidated damages equal to the amount of unpaid wages owed, and may impose civil penalties, only against an employer that failed to pay the prevailing wage to its employees, in accordance with Section 1775, injunctive relief, or any other appropriate form of equitable relief. The court shall follow the same standards and have the same discretion in setting the amount of penalties as are provided by subdivision (a) of Section 1775. The court shall award a prevailing joint labor-management committee its reasonable attorney?s fees and costs incurred in maintaining the action, including expert witness fees.
(2) An action pursuant to this section shall not be based on the employer?s misclassification of the craft of a worker in its certified payroll records.
(3) Liquidated damages shall be awarded only if the complaint alleges with specificity the wages due and unpaid to the individual workers, including how that amount was calculated, and the defendant fails to pay the wages, deposit that amount with the court to be held in escrow, or provide proof to the court of an adequate surety bond to cover the wages, within 60 days of service of the complaint. Liquidated damages shall be awarded only on the wages found to be due and unpaid. Additionally, if the defendant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the court that the defendant had substantial grounds for contesting that a portion of the allegedly unpaid wages were owed, the court may exercise its discretion to waive the payment of the liquidated damages with respect to that portion of the unpaid wages.
(4) This subdivision does not limit any other available remedies for a violation of this chapter.
(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 792, Sec. 2.)