For Immediate Release - April 23, 2010

New Hampshire Construction Company Agrees to Six Month Debarment and will Pay $25,000 Fine for Misclassifying Workers

BOSTON - A New Hampshire construction company has agreed to be debarred for six months after being cited by Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office for misclassifying its workers as independent contractors on construction projects in Framingham, Newton, Boston, Needham, and UMass/Lowell. Sylvain A. Michaud, age 41, of Nashua, NH, and Bill Poulin, age 39, of Hudson, NH, and their company, All-Pro Construction Management, LLC (All-Pro Construction), based in Hudson, NH, were also cited for failure to make timely payment of wages, failure to submit true and accurate certified payroll records on public construction projects, and failure to maintain true and accurate general payroll records. The owners and their company have agreed to pay a $25,000 penalty to the Commonwealth for the violations. As part of the settlement, All-Pro Construction will be debarred from bidding or contracting for any new public projects in the Commonwealth for six months.

"It is important that businesses that don't play by the rules are held accountable to ensure that the Commonwealth is not deprived of revenues due to misclassification of workers," Attorney General Coakley said. "Our Office is committed to safeguard the rights of all workers throughout the Commonwealth."

In November 2009, the Attorney General's Office received a complaint alleging that All-Pro Construction was misclassifying employees as independent contractors. An investigation by the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division revealed that All-Pro Construction was paying their employees half of their weekly wages by payroll check, and the balance of the wages at the end of the month with a company check that failed to deduct taxes. Additionally, the Attorney General's Office determined that between January 1, 2008, and January 22, 2010, Michaud, Poulin and All-Pro submitted inaccurate certified payroll records to five different Massachusetts contract awarding authorities, stating that they were paying their employees all wages weekly.

The Massachusetts Employee Misclassification Law provides that an individual performing any service shall be considered to be an employee unless: (1) the individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under his or her contract for the performance of service and in fact; and (2) the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer; and, (3) the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.

Companies that misclassify individuals deprive their workers of the many protections and benefits, both public and private, that employees enjoy. Misclassified individuals are often left without unemployment insurance and workers' compensation benefits. In addition, misclassified individuals do not have access to employer-provided health care and are often underpaid for hours worked. The Attorney General's Office has issued an advisory about the Employee Misclassification Law that is available on the office's website pdf format of independent_contractor_advisory.pdf

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