Nevada Supreme Court Orders Payment of Prevailing Wages for Off-Site Prefabrication

On July 9, 2021 the Supreme Court of Nevada issued a decision finding that serial wage offender, Muller Construction, failed to pay workers the prevailing wage for their prefabrication of steel barriers meant to be installed into the sidewalks of Las Vegas Boulevard, a public works project awarded to Muller by Clark County.

Muller required the workers to fabricate the barriers on a lot adjacent to Muller’s office before the barriers were transported to and installed on Las Vegas Boulevard. Because Clark County determined that Muller’s lot was not a “site of a public work” within the meaning of the Nevada prevailing wage statute, Muller paid the workers less than the prevailing wage rate (in addition to misclassifying the workers). However, after the Nevada Foundation for Fair Contracting, Ironworkers Local 433, and the Southwest Region of Carpenters filed complaints with the Office of the Labor Commissioner, an investigator for the Labor Commissioner found that Clark County’s determination was incorrect and that Muller Construction was required to pay a prevailing wage rate for the prefabrication of barriers on Muller’s lot. After a hearing, the Labor Commissioner ordered Muller to pay prevailing wages for all work performed at the off-site location, plus an administrative penalty of $56,000.

Muller thereafter pursued the case to the Supreme Court of Nevada arguing that the Labor Commissioner incorrectly found that Muller’s lot was a “site of a public work” because it performed many other activities at the lot. The Supreme Court rejected this argument concluding that these other activities meant only that it was used as a staging area for improvements to Muller’s own office buildings, and as a preparation area for its workers to perform their daily tasks. Because these uses by themselves did not support the continued existence of the lot, the Supreme Court held that the lot was in fact a “site of a public work.” In other words, Muller could not assign workers to prefabricate the Las Vegas Boulevard barriers on its own lot in order to avoid paying the prevailing wage to the workers.

This case is a huge victory for workers in Nevada and a major blow to Nevada employers’ efforts to undermine prevailing wage requirements. Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld is proud that its attorneys contributed to achieving this victory on behalf of working people.

For any questions related to prevailing wage law, please contact your labor law counsel.

By Abel Rodriguez | July 15, 2021

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