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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I work in the audio-visual field installing projectors, signal

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I work in the audio-visual field installing projectors, signal processing equipment, screens, speakers and cabling in public works, prevailing wage jobs. By definition, does this classify me as a "Sound and Signal Technician" rather than "Soundman"?
Good morning and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I will do everything I can to assist you.

I think it would help me in answering your question if I understood why you believe your job classification to be significant. Are you a union member? Would an alternative classification entitle you to greater pay pursuant to an existing collective bargaining agreement?

I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello. No, I am not a union member. The difference between these classifications is important to me because, according to the current determinations published by the state of California, the total hourly rate for "Soundman" is $32.02 per hour while a "Sound and Signal Technician" earns $39.34. The contract under which we are working was awarded prior to the currently published determinations so I'm being paid $31.22 per hour as a "Soundman". If the pay rates for these crafts have ascended at the same rate, a Sound and Signal Technician should be paid around $38.36 per hour for work performed under that earlier contract. That's a 22.9% difference.


I have worked as a temporary employee for this company on and off since 2011, presumably at the "Soundman" rate. I think that it comes down to the definitions of these crafts. What differentiates a s

Soundman from a Sound and Signal Technician?


Thank you very much for your clarification. I see now that this is a prevailing rate issue since you are working on a government contract.

That being the case, Labor Code § 1770 et seq. does mandate that you are paid the prevailing rate for your job classification.

If you believe that your employer misclassified you as a "soundman" when in fact your duties entitled you to classification as a "sound and signal technician," your recourse would be to file a complaint with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, which is presently charged with enforcing prevailing wage laws.

The DLSE will conduct an investigation into your classification to determine whether it is proper. Although you may be entitled to additional pay as a sound and signal technician, the rate of pay for such classification would be the rate published at the time the contract was awarded, not the rate presently in effect. (Labor Code § 1773.6) However, as this would still be more than your present rate as a soundman, it would likely be worth your effort to proceed forward with a DLSE claim.

To file a claim with the DLSE, visit this link: Regardless of the DLSE's determination, your employer will be legally prohibited from retaliating against you as a consequence of your complaint. Any such retaliation would give rise to an entirely separate claim for damages.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
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