Department Of Labor Secures Guarantee From General Contractor For Wage Violations Of Its Subcontractors
The U.S. Department of Labor announced on July 26 that a New York general contractor has agreed to guarantee payment of about $142,345 in back wages and fringe benefits for 85 mechanics and laborers employed by its subcontractors on two affordable housing developments in Harlem. The settlement follows an investigation conducted by the department's Wage and Hour Division that found Lettire Construction and 16 of its subcontractors had violated provisions of the federal Davis-Bacon and Related Acts as well as the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.
The investigation found some employees working more than 60 hours per week without proper payment. Violations included contractors failing to pay required prevailing wages and overtime compensation, providing inaccurate or falsified payroll records to the government, failing to keep accurate records of hours employees worked, failing to pay for all hours employees worked and improperly classifying employees who performed work on the projects, resulting in the underpayment of wages and fringe benefits.
The DOL’s action against Lettire highlights general contractors’ responsibility to ensure that its subcontractors comply with the federal prevailing wage laws on federal taxpayer-funded projects. Workers on these projects should be aware that regardless of a subcontractor’s ability to meet its wage and benefit obligations, a DOL action may still be available against the general contractor for the subcontractor’s violations.
By Russell Naymark