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Federal Contractor to Pay $1.3 in Back Wages and Fringe Benefits

June 22, 2011

According to a recent U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) press release that our Carson, California employment lawyers have been following, 67 employees of the Massachusetts-based contractor CAL Construction Co. Inc., will receive $1.3 million in unpaid back wages and fringe benefits after not being paid prevailing wage rates while working on a New York low-income housing project that was partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The DOL's Wage and Hour Division reportedly investigated owner Cesar A. Lemus and CAL Construction, finding them responsible for willfully violating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) by underpaying the employees who performed many different trades, including building labor work, carpentry, and painting on an apartment rehab project from 2009 to 2010.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act reportedly incorporates employment provisions from the DBRA that require companies to pay prevailing wages and benefits to laborers employed on projects that receive federal funding. The investigation uncovered that CAL Construction paid some workers only a portion of the prevailing pay and fringe benefits that were owed to them and that CAL Construction compensated workers both off and on the books. The company also reportedly neglected to pay nonunion workers the necessary fringe benefits, as well as benefits to local trade union members supplying other workers on the project.

Cal Construction was also accused of violating the provision of the Copeland Act by falsifying payrolls for government submission, and violating the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA) by failing to compensate workers time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. The company also demanded that some workers pay back some of their wages every week, and convinced other employees not to cooperate with the DOL during the wage and hour investigation.

DOL Secretary Hilda Solis stated that the Labor Department will not tolerate the wage and hour mistreatment of workers by federal contractors. The DOL debarred the company and owner from bidding or working on contracts that are federally funded for a period of three years to help ensure a level-playing field.

In cities throughout Orange County, California, contact our labor and employment attorneys at Howard Law, PC today for a free consultation about your rights.

US Labor Department recovers $1.3 million in back wages and fringe benefits for employees of Chelsea, Mass., contractor working on Long Island, NY, U.S. Department of Labor, June 14, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Related Blog Posts:

Workers on Federally Funded NYC Housing Project Receive $792K in Back Pay for Employee Misclassification, California Employment Lawyers Blog, March 28, 2011

U.S. DOL Recovers $339K in Back Wages for Electrical Mechanics, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 7, 2010