For Immediate Release - August 17, 2010

Everett Construction Company Debarred for Three Months and Agrees to Pay Nearly $55,000 for Wage Violations

BOSTON - An Everett construction company will pay nearly $55,000 in restitution and penalties for violating the state's wage and hour, prevailing wage and independent contractor laws. Teles Construction, Inc., and its president, Juliano Teles Fernandes, age 29, of Salisbury, have agreed to pay nearly $40,000 in restitution to 44 employees, and a $15,000 penalty to the Commonwealth. Teles Construction and Fernandes also agreed to a three-month debarment which will prohibit them from bidding on, contracting with, or working on any public works construction projects in the Commonwealth.

"All workers deserve to be paid in accordance with the law, and our office will hold accountable any employer that tries to deny his or her employees the wages they are owed," said AG Coakley.

In March 2009, the AG's Fair Labor Division received a complaint that Teles Construction and Fernandes were misclassifying their employees as independent contractors and failing to pay overtime. Investigators discovered that the company and Fernandes had misclassified eight employees as independent contractors at a private work site and also failed to pay the proper prevailing wage rate to 42 employees for work performed at the Swansea Police Station and the Westport Housing Authority public works projects. Investigators also discovered that Fernandes and his company failed to pay overtime to five employees; submit true and accurate certified payroll records to the awarding authorities for the two projects; and keep true and accurate general payroll records.

The prevailing wage and records keeping 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.

The Attorney General's Office is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the payment of wages laws, prevailing wage, overtime and misclassification of employees in the Commonwealth. The Attorney General's Office issued an Advisory pdf format of independent_contractor_advisory.pdf to provide guidance on the Independent Contractor/Misclassification Law in April 2008. Workers who believe 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: www.massworkrights.com.

The matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Miranda S. Jones and investigated by Investigator Nuno R. Fontes Montrond, both of Attorney General Coakley's Fair Labor Division.

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