San Jose Interim Emergency Housing Contractors Liable for Thousands in Wage Violations

Looks like San Jose’s good will efforts to provide emergency housing during the pandemic were plagued by bad labor—withholding tens of thousands in wages from construction workers.

According to documents from the city of San Jose’s Office of Equality Assurance, Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley was awarded million-dollar contracts for at least three separate Emergency Interim Housing Projects. Prioritizing speed and efficiency of construction, records show city staff chose the organization due to its expertise building these types of housing solutions and existing contract with the city.

However, Habitat handed off these builds to subcontractors who misclassified workers as “laborers,” shortened hours and certified invalid payrolls. Jobs at each of the sites—Monterey and Bernal, Evans Lane and Rue Ferrari—were required to pay prevailing wages outlined in California’s Labor Code, since these were city “public works” projects.

City documents from October show that VEEV Build—in charge of the Monterey and Bernal location—recorded inaccurate payrolls for its 22 workers, which the OEA concluded merits $319,631 in restitution. Additional penalties will arrive after those debts are paid.

Documents from early November reported subcontractor Suarez & Munoz Construction was liable for misclassifying 18 workers as “laborers,” as they completed jobs like fence installation, planting and decking. Suarez & Munoz Construction now owes nearly $31,000 in restitution to 18 workers and $5,880 in penalties from the Evans Lane project, as well as $70,318 in restitution and $16,560 in penalties from the Rue Ferrari site.

Habitat for Humanity and these subcontractors are now on the hook, as the city’s Compliance Officer awaits the day workers can cash accurate paychecks for their labor.

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. Did Politicians, City Procurements / Contracting Officers and awarded contractors / subcontractors ensure compliance withE-Verify for employee work eligibility – we have enough ‘under the table’ sub-contractors and workers employing Illegal Aliens and cheating the Local, State and Federal Governments out tax revenues.

    Employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause are required to enroll in E-Verify as a condition of federal contracting.

    —————— —————

    E-Verify is a web-based system that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of newly hired employees by electronically matching information provided by employees on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against records available to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

  2. I am shocked to hear that poverty pimps, the homeless/industrial Industry, and race hustlers would cheat their are most vulnerable workers?

    Please don’t feel too bad for them as I am sure that the city and county are already working out some kind of award for them to overshadow their lowlife conduct. ?

  3. Dear Community,

    Audit every 501c3. Especially here in the East Valley.

    That is my Opinion.

    In Community Spirit,

  4. A fine idea, Mr. Garza, if it were not for the fact that taxpayers would be stuck with the bills for all those audits. That fact is something these poverty parasites are banking on.

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