An unlicensed subcontractor hired by San Jose, California-based Full Power Properties allegedly held 22 workers in captivity and recently paid the workers for back wages, according to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The subcontractor, Nobilis Construction, allegedly had employees living in captivity in a squalid warehouse owned by Nobilis’ owner. The Labor Department said the workers were underpaid, or even unpaid in some cases.
The Department said that Full Power Properties has paid $250,000 in back wages to the employees. The workers were involved with the Silvery Towers condominium property in San Jose and other large projects in the region.
Labor trafficking is a problem in the construction industry, typically taking place within small contracting firms working in residential and commercial roofing, carpentry, welding, electrical work, and masonry. Workers caught up in these illegal operations are typically undocumented immigrants or have H-2B work visas.