Westborough Trash Hauling Company Cited for More Than $200,000 in Restitution and Penalties for Miscalculating Prevailing Wage
BOSTON – A Westborough trash hauling company has been cited for more than $200,000 in restitution and penalties for failing to properly calculate the prevailing wage rate, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
The Fair Labor Division received complaints in December of 2011 alleging that E.L. Harvey & Sons was not paying the full prevailing wage. After being alerted of possible wage violations, the company fully cooperated with the investigation by the Fair Labor Division of the Attorney General’s Office. The company conducted a self-audit supervised by the Division, resulting in restitution payments totaling $187,422.93 to employees who worked collecting trash and recycled materials under contracts with several communities.
“This company and its officials took their obligations seriously once they realized they had miscalculated the wages, and we appreciate their full cooperation,” AG Coakley said.
The underpayments were the result of an inadvertent error in calculating the value of health and welfare benefits, which under the prevailing wage statute, can be credited toward meeting the prevailing wage. E.L. Harvey & Sons had consulted with their outside attorneys when they first became subject to the prevailing wage laws, and as a result, believed they had been in compliance with the law. The Massachusetts prevailing wage laws require that employees on public works projects, except those who perform strictly supervisory functions, be paid a minimum hourly rate set by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Occupational Safety.
Restitution was paid to 29 employees who worked for the company on public trash collection projects in 2010 and 2011. Restitution amounts vary from $44.71 to $28,728.96. The average award per worker was $6,462.86. In addition to making full restitution to the affected employees, the company was assessed a $27,500 civil penalty.
The AG’s Fair Labor Division enforces various laws that protect workers, including the prevailing wage, minimum wage, payment of wages, overtime, tip pooling, child labor, Sunday and holiday premium pay, and the public construction bid laws. Workers who believe they may not have been paid the appropriate wages are encouraged 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.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Bruce Trager and Investigator Joseph Hyacinthe, both of AG Coakley’s Fair Labor Division.