1/4/2017Red Light Camera Company Sued Again For Prevailing Wage Violation
Former American Traffic Solutions electrician says he was cheated out of over $75,000 in wages while working on red light cameras.
Another former traffic camera company employee says he has been shortchanged by American Traffic Solutions (ATS). In a new federal lawsuit, George A. Felix alleges the traffic camera vendor forced him to work more than eight hours per day without being paid overtime, and at a rate far below that required under California law.
Felix worked as an electrician for ATS in California from 2009 to 2014. He earned between $20 and $23 per hour setting up and maintaining red light cameras in various municipalities across the state. Felix does not say exactly how much money he believes he is owed, but ATS lawyers estimated the likely total to be in excess of $75,000.
"ATS failed to properly compensate [Felix] for working off-the-clock and overtime," Richard E. Donahoo, attorney for Felix, wrote in his complaint. "[Felix] did not receive compensation for all hours worked over eight per day or forty per week at the required overtime rate."
For publicly funded installation work, California Labor Code Section 1771 requires the payment of "prevailing wages," a rate of compensation inflated far beyond market value for the benefit of labor unions. Under prevailing wage rules, Felix should have received double what he was paid. The official "inside wireman" rate is $39 per hour, or $58 per hour with benefits.
Prevailing wage lawsuits against red light camera companies were inspired by a 2012 ruling by the California Department of Industrial Relations that found ATS and its Australian competitor Redflex Traffic Systems in violation of the state's rules (view ruling). ATS last year settled the case filed by another former employee, Matthew G. Jaime, without disclosing the terms. Felix is asking for the unpaid wages, plus interest and attorney's fees.
"ATS... acted with malice, oppression and with an intent to deny [Felix] his wages, all in a willful and conscious disregard for the rights of the plaintiff," Donahoo wrote.
ATS has not formally responded to the lawsuit, beyond having the case transferred from a Los Angeles courtroom to the US District Court for the Central District of California. In past cases, ATS lawyers have denied that red light camera installations fall under the definition of a "public works" project that would trigger the prevailing wage law.