BREAKING: McCrory issues executive order on worker misclassification (NC)

Posted by : Rob Schofield
Friday, December 18, 2015


Gov. McCrory took a step in the right direction this afternoon on the issue of employee misclassification – the persistent problem that plagues thousands of North Carolina businesses wherein workers are improperly treated as contractors when they ought to be employees.  As we have reported on multiple occasions this year (and as Raleigh’s News & Observer documented a while back in its special series “Contract to Cheat,”) this is a huge problem that harms workers and honest businesses and robs the state of tax revenue. Doug Burton, a Triangle area contractor put it this way:

“Treating employees as independent contractors when in fact they are regular employees is a fraudulent business practice that has become an epidemic. Some call this ‘misclassification,’ but it is in fact fraud that lets these cheating businesses – many from out of state – off the hook for basic protections, including minimum wage, overtime pay, workers’ compensation, health and safety protections, unemployment insurance, federal and state tax withholding, social security withholdings and matching and more.

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Back pay a boon for Tyler Middle School workers

December 20, 2015
by Ryan Murphy 



Randy Tong worked for about a year with Comfort Systems, a heating and cooling subcontractor, to help build the Georgie D. Tyler Middle School in Windsor.

Two years later, he finally got paid.

Tong and hundreds of other workers who were underpaid while working on the Tyler Middle construction job have finally received checks for back pay ordered as a result of a Department of Labor investigation — although some still have complaints about how much they got and how the process was handled.

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Committee votes to close living wage loophole

Thursday, December 17, 2015
by Vicky Garza



City Council’s Economic Opportunity Committee approved a resolution at its meeting on Monday that would effectively close a loophole that allows some city contractors to avoid paying workers a living wage.

Both Bob Batlan, of Austin Interfaith, and Emily Timm, deputy director of Workers Defense Project, spoke in favor of the resolution.

“This is simply closing a loophole that currently allows bad actors to subcontract out and not comply with that living wage standard,” said Timm. She added that the requirements will ultimately “protect responsible contractors who are doing their best to comply with the city’s living wage standards that are already in place in the purchasing department.”

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North Branford construction company fined for filing false tax return, underfunding retirement plan

POSTED: 12/04/15, 7:18 PM EST


NEW HAVEN >> A North Branford-based construction company was sentenced Friday to three years of probation and hit with a $200,000 fine for underfunding its retirement plan and filing a false tax return, federal officials said.

Cherry Hill Construction Inc. pleaded guilty in January to one count of filing a false tax return, and one count of making a false statement in relation to documents required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, according to a release from the office of Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the construction company provides statewide service in site development, on-site crushing, trucking and demolition, and as well as roll-off Dumpsters, topsoil, aggregates and landscaping.

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Wiljo Interiors Inc. in Tulsa pays more than $200K in unpaid wages and benefits to 178 misclassified construction workers

US Department of Labor investigation finds contractor responsible as a joint employer of its subcontractor’s workers


WHD News Brief: [12/15/2015]
Release Number: 15-2312-DAL


Employer: Wiljo Interiors Inc.

Site: Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Oklahoma.

Investigation Findings: A recent investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found Wiljo Interiors Inc. violated overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act; and did not pay the proper prevailing wage rates or fringe benefits required under the Davis Bacon Act.

Wiljo Interiors was sub-contracted by prime contractor, Cherokee CRC LLC, to work on a $2.9 million federally-funded construction project at the Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Wiljo Interiors then brought in an additional sub-contractor, Strong Rock Drywall LLC, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, misclassified its owner and workers as independent contractors, yet dictated what they would pay them. Strong Rock also failed to pay its employees as required by law, but their work was directed and controlled by Wiljo. Therefore, the division found there was a joint employment relationship between the two employers, holding both employers responsible, both individually and jointly, for compliance with the FLSA. The FLSA states joint employment exists where workers have an employment relationship with one employer, and the economic realities show that they are economically dependent on – and thus simultaneously employed by – another entity involved in the work.

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Southern California flooring contractor pays more than $458K in back wages, damages to 127 workers following US Labor Department investigation

WHD News Release: [12/10/2015]
Release Number: 15-1870-SAN


RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Drivers experience frustrations when stuck in congested traffic areas, such as Los Angeles. Sometimes, other factors test their tolerance, such as spending multiple hours behind the wheel each day for work and not getting paid for all that time, as required by law. That is what happened to 127 workers in Riverside.

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Mota’s Floorcovering Inc. in Riverside paid straight time for all hours worked – including those employees who put in more than 40 hours in a workweek – in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime provisions. The company also required workers to travel each day to and from work sites, including out-of-town assignments. However, the company did not always count travel time correctly and compensate the time as hours worked. In addition, the employer failed to include compensable travel time for overtime wage calculations, and did not keep accurate time records, in violation of the FLSA.

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US Labor Department recovers more than $342K in unpaid overtime wages, damages for 22 So Cal construction and maintenance employees

WHD News Brief: [12/07/2015]
Release Number: 15-2280-SAN


Employer: Salinas Inc.

Site: 1537 E. McFadden Avenue, Suite G, Santa Ana, California 92705

Investigation findings: An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Salinas Inc. violated the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The firm paid field workers, such as plumbers and carpet cleaners, a fixed semi-monthly salary regardless of the hours these employees actually worked. Some of these workers were also paid an additional flat rate for service calls. These employees often worked as many as 70 hours per week, but were not paid legally-required overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. The carpeting, plumbing, painting and janitorial general contractor did use time cards for office staff but failed to keep any records of hours worked by their field employees, as required under federal law.

Resolution: Salinas will pay $171,428 in overtime back wages plus an equal, additional amount in liquidated damages, totaling $342,856 to 22 workers.

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Santa Ana-based Salinas Inc. owes $343,000 to 22 workers after failing to pay overtime, federal government says

Dec. 7, 2015
Updated Dec. 8, 2015 2:01 p.m.


Salinas Inc., a Santa Ana construction company, was assessed $342,856, in back wages and damages for failing to pay overtime to 22 workers over two years, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Monday.

Salinas’ carpet installers, painters, janitors and plumbers worked as much as 70 hours per week without earning the requisite time-and-a half for weekly hours exceeding 40, the department found.

“When employers disregard employees’ rights to legally-required overtime pay, they not only harm workers and their families, but they also put law-abiding employers at a competitive disadvantage,” Rodolfo Cortez, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s San Diego District Office, said in a statement released to the media.

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Halliburton pays nearly $18.3 million in overtime owed to more than 1,000 employees nationwide after US Labor Department investigation

Global oil and gas service provider failed to pay overtime


WHD News Release: [09/22/2015]
Release Number: 15-1647-DAL
UPDATED: 9:43 AM, Nov 24, 2015


HOUSTON – In one of the largest recoveries of overtime wages in recent years for the U.S. Department of Labor, oil and gas service provider, Halliburton, has agreed to pay $18,293,557 to 1,016 employees nationwide. The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigated Halliburton as part of an ongoing, multi-year compliance initiative in the oil and gas industry in the Southwest and Northeast.

Investigators found Halliburton incorrectly categorized employees in 28 job positions as exempt from overtime. The company did not pay overtime to these salaried employees – working as field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisors, perforating specialists and reliability tech specialists – when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company also failed to keep accurate records of hours worked by these employees.

“The Department of Labor takes very seriously its responsibility to ensure workers receive the wages they have earned. This settlement will put millions of dollars where they belong – in the pockets of hardworking people and their families,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Employers who don’t pay their employees the wages they have earned don’t just hurt their workers, they undercut employers who play by the rules. That’s why we work every day to help level the playing field.”

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Wharf project shows off unique labor agreement

BY: Ed Friedrich
POSTED: 5:25 PM, Nov 23, 2015
UPDATED: 9:43 AM, Nov 24, 2015


SILVERDALE – U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez toured Naval Base Kitsap’s nearly completed second explosives handling wharf and plans to tout it as a model for other military projects.

The wharf, where missiles are loaded onto Trident submarines, is near budget and on schedule to be finished in January. The Navy awarded a $331 million contract to EHW Constructors four years ago. Today’s cost is $345 million, said Navy Region Northwest spokeswoman Leslie Yuenger.

It is being built using a Project Labor Agreement – a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement negotiated between a project’s prime contractor and labor organizations that sets basic terms and work conditions. PLAs typically require that employees be referred through union halls, that nonunion workers pay union dues while on the project and that the contractor follow union rules on pensions, work conditions and resolving disputes.

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