Local business owners and statewide business organizations are stepping up opposition to a state bill that would allow workers to file liens against their employers over claims of unpaid wages.

The labor-backed bill targets scofflaw businesses that fail to pay their workers wages and benefits they are owed and was designed to give workers another tool to collect on their money.

But business owners say the bill does not require that workers prove their claims before filing a lien and so could expose them to waves of frivolous or fraudulent liens.

“The threat of liens would become a weapon for plaintiffs’ attorneys and serial filers to extract money,” said Joe Ramirez, chief executive of Pacific National Security Inc., a Culver City company that provides security guards and systems to its clients. “If my properties do get tied up with liens, banks are much less likely to lend the capital I need to operate or grow my business.”

Ramirez is one of several business owners who, along with more than 60 business groups, are opposing the bill. The California Chamber of Commerce has labeled the bill a “job killer.”

The bill, AB 2416, by Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, passed the Assembly earlier this year and is due to be considered this week by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee can pass it on to the full Senate floor, vote it down or decide not to consider it.

Read the full story in the Aug. 11 weekly edition of the Business Journal.

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