For Immediate Release - December 22, 2008

Norwood Construction Company Agrees to Pay Over $131,000 in Restitution and Penalties and a Nine Month Debarment for Violating Massachusetts Prevailing Wage, Overtime and Record Keeping Laws

BOSTON- Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office has reached a settlement agreement with a Norwood construction company for failing to pay the prevailing wage and for failing to pay overtime at various public construction sites in Massachusetts. Charles J. Morris, age 56 , of Norwood, and his company, CJM Services, Inc., have agreed to pay $15,000 in fines and a total of $109,069.56 in restitution to seven employees for the violations. In addition, Morris and CJM have agreed to pay a $7,000 fine for payroll records violations. Morris and his company have also agreed to refrain from bidding on public construction work in the Commonwealth for a period of nine months.

In May 2007, an investigator from the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division conducted a routine site inspection at the Grover Cleveland School project, a public works project in Dorchester. The investigator observed CJM employees performing carpentry work and installing drywall. The investigator's initial review of the company's payroll records showed that the company had misclassified these employees as laborers, thus paying a significantly reduced wage. Investigators conducted another audit of the company's payroll records and discovered that Morris and CJM also failed to pay the proper prevailing wage and overtime at various public works construction projects, including: Canton High School; Hennigan School in Boston, the DCAM Burn Building; Medfield High School; Wellesley Middle School; Wachusett Regional Technical School in Holden; Bridgewater State College; Martin Luther King Elementary School in Boston; UMass-Dartmouth; Bridgewater-Raynham High School; Hull High School; Norwood Housing Authority; Roger's School in Boston; Framingham State College; UMass Medical Center; Department of Mental Health in Dorchester; Norwood Police and Fire Station; Division of Unemployment Assistance in Brockton; Reading High School; Dearborn School in Boston, Weymouth Emergency Building; Milford Public Library; Shattuck Hospital Medfield-Wheelock School Elevator Project; and Chelmsford High School.

The Prevailing Wage Laws apply to all construction work performed on public works projects in Massachusetts. The Prevailing Wage Laws allow all contractors bidding on public works projects to enjoy a "level playing field" by standardizing the rate of pay the workers will earn. A company's failure to pay its employees the prevailing wage for work performed at a public construction site can result in both civil and criminal penalties against the company and its owner.

The Attorney General's Office is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the payment of wages laws, overtime and misclassification of employees in the Commonwealth. Workers who believe they have been misclassified or that their rights have been violated are strongly urged to call the Attorney General's Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General's Workplace Rights website:

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Miranda Jones, and investigated by Senior Prevailing Wage Investigator James Kelley, both of Attorney General Coakley's Fair Labor Division.