(Rhode Island) Senate passes two bills governing unpaid wages

3/31/2016

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Senate passed two pieces of legislation Thursday designed to curtail the theft of wages from employees by unscrupulous employers. The measures offer employees improved methods for collecting unpaid wages.

The first piece of legislation passed was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, of District 4, North Providence, Providence. Ruggerio’s bill would establish a procedure for employees to secure liens against employers for unpaid wages and contested claims would be decided by the Superior Court.

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Michael F. Sabitoni: I’m thrilled to see crackdown on bad R.I. businesses

By Michael F. Sabitoni

Posted Sep. 18, 2015 at 2:01 AM

A $730,000 fine! That is what a construction subcontractor hanging drywall recently voluntarily agreed to pay to Rhode Island for misclassification and wage and hour violations on just one public works project.
According to the Sept. 1 news story “R.I. construction firm settles with DLT to pay more than $730,000 in back wages, penalties,” the subcontractor’s lawyer actually commended the owner of the company for coming “to the plate” and working “to make things right” rather than fleeing the country and/or filing bankruptcy. Wow, what an upstanding citizen!

When someone blatantly exploits workers in such an egregious way, we in the trades do not know how anyone could commend the perpetrator in any respect. The fact of the matter is the only reason this contractor is coming “to the plate” is not because of character, it is because of money and/or profits. It goes to show you how lucrative cheating is in the construction industry.

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DOL Signs Agreement with RI Department of Labor and Training

The agreement is a new effort by the agencies to work together to protect the rights of employees and level the playing field for responsible employers by reducing the practice of misclassification. 

May 08, 2015

 

The U.S. Department of Labor and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training signed a three-year memorandum of understanding intended to protect the rights of employees by preventing their misclassification as independent contractors or other non-employee status. Under the agreement, both agencies will share information and coordinate law enforcement, according to DOL’s release.

The agreement is a new effort by the agencies to work together to protect the rights of employees and level the playing field for responsible employers by reducing the practice of misclassification. Before the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training agreed to partner with DOL, Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming agencies also signed similar agreements.

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For more information on misclassification, visit (DOL/Misclassification)

 

RI 6-Agency Task Force Announces Establishment of Anonymous Tip Line for Allegations of Misclassification of Workers as Independent Contractors Instead of as Employees

By WorkersCompensation.com

Providence, RI (WorkersCompensation.com) – A six-agency task force established to protect both workers’ rights and law-abiding businesses that classify their employees properly announced today that it has set up an anonymous telephone tip line for allegations of misclassification.

Staffed by the Rhode Island Division of Taxation, the tip line number is 401-574-8477. Also, the task force is currently building a website to allow people to post tips online.

The chairman of the Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification, DLT Director Charles J. Fogarty, and RI Tax Administrator David M. Sullivan also announced that their agencies have been meeting regularly to share information since the task force came into being in June with the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2015 State Budget. The panel’s purpose is to:

  • coordinate joint efforts to combat fraudulent employment activities;
  • foster voluntary compliance with the law by educating workers and employers;
  • protect the health, safety and benefit rights of workers; and
  • protect law-abiding businesses from being undercut by companies that skirt the law. If warranted, an investigation may be referred to the Office of Attorney General.

 

“One of our major goals is educating, not violating, Rhode Island companies that might unknowingly be misclassifying their workers,” Fogarty said. “At the same time, however, fighting misclassification is an important strategy to promoting shared prosperity in our state

Cranston builder pleads guilty to filing false claims to collect federal stimulus funds

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The owner of Alhambra Building Company, in Warwick, pleaded guilty Wednesday to filing false claims and documents to collect more than $500,000 in federal stimulus funds, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The company, led by Donald F. Ihlefeld, 71,  of  Cranston,  was working on a renovation project to turn a former West Warwick textile mill into a walk-in health center when Ihlefeld falsely represented he paid employees local prevailing wages for their work, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The Cotton Shed Project, as it was known,  was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through grants provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.

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