For Immediate Release - October 28, 2011

Three Masonry Contractors Fined for Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage

Site Inspections Lead to More Than $68,000 in Fines for Misclassifying Workers’ Jobs

BOSTON - Three Massachusetts masonry companies and their owners have been ordered to pay more than $68,000 for failing to pay the prevailing wage, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

“All workers on public construction projects in the Commonwealth deserve to be paid what they are rightfully owed under the law,” said AG Coakley. “Any employer that has a state or municipal contract must abide by the rules, which includes properly classifying their employees in their records.” 

Investigators of the Fair Labor Division conducted site inspections at nine public construction projects.  During these site inspections, the investigators observed and filmed employees performing masonry tasks, such as cutting block or brick with a masonry saw. A review of the certified payroll records submitted by these companies to the awarding authorities showed that the employers misclassified their masonry workers as laborers, and consequently failed to pay the employees the prevailing wage rate.

The Department of Labor Standards (“DLS” - formerly the Division of Occupational Safety) is statutorily authorized to set the prevailing wage rates for all public construction projects in Massachusetts and to determine which tasks fall into which job classifications.  In 2004 and 2008, the DLS issued letters stating that cutting brick or block is a masonry task.

The AGO cited the following three companies and their owners for violations at the following public construction projects:

  1. D’Agostino Associates, Inc. of Newton, and John D’Agostino, age 84, of West Newton were fined a total of $30,000 for four violations: Norwood High School; Hanover High School; Avery Elementary School in Dedham; and Natick High School.
  2. Lighthouse Masonry, Inc. of New Bedford, and Paul M. Alves, age 43, of North Dartmouth were fined a total of $22,500 for three violations: Wayland High School; Salem State University; and the Ruane Judicial Center in Salem.
  3. Fernandes Masonry, Inc. of New Bedford, and Victor M. Fernandes, age 39, of Acushnet were fined a total of $15,000 for two violations: Westboro Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade project and the Weston Public Works project.

Each company was ordered to pay a $7,500 fine for each wage violation and pay restitution to their employees for the one hour’s worth of time which the investigators observed. Additionally, the Attorney General’s Office ordered Lighthouse Masonry and Paul Alves to pay a $500 fine for failing to submit true & accurate certified payroll records at the Ruane Judicial Center project due to its failure to list one of its employees, observed by the investigators, on the certified payroll record.

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 at www.massworkrights.com.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Miranda S. Jones and investigated by Investigator Mario Paiva, both of AG Coakley’s Fair Labor Division.

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