Electrical Company Cited by AG’s Office for Intentionally Underpaying Employees
Failed to Pay Prevailing Wage to Employees for City Public Works Project Repairing Streetlights in Worcester
BOSTON – A Wilmington-based electrical company was cited more than $100,000 in restitution and penalties for intentionally failing to properly pay employees working on a public project for the City of Worcester to repair streetlights, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The AG’s Office issued three intentional civil citations, all with specific intent, against Wilmington Wiring Corporation (WWC) and owner John Garrett for Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage, Failure to Furnish Payroll Records, and Failure to Furnish Certified Payroll Records to the AG’s Office.
“Prevailing wage laws ensure workers are paid a real, living wage, and level the playing field for companies that play by the rules,” said AG Healey. “Workers, honest employers, and taxpayers lose when companies fail to follow wage and hour laws.”
WWC was a company based in Wilmington until it dissolved in May 2016. The AG’s Office began an investigation into the company in January 2016 after an employee filed a complaint alleging that he was not paid the prevailing wage rate for five years of work on a public project repairing streetlights in Worcester.
The AG’s investigation revealed that WWC intentionally failed to pay the proper prevailing wage rate to six of its employees for the public works project. The AG’s Office found that only WWC union employees were paid the proper rate, while the company’s non-union employees were underpaid for their work. WWC also subsequently intentionally ignored the AG’s Fair Labor Division’s payroll demands.
Under the Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law, contractors and subcontractors engaged in public construction projects must pay their employees a special minimum wage, which is based on the occupational classification for the type of work the employees perform.
The law also requires that contractors and subcontractors working on public construction projects submit true and accurate certified payroll records to the awarding authority on a weekly basis. These records must contain the employees’ identities, the job classifications of the work performed, their hourly rates of pay, hours worked and wages paid. Upon demand, an employer must also furnish these records to the AG’s Office.
AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division is responsible for enforcing state laws regulating the payment of wages, including prevailing wage, minimum wage and overtime laws.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace can call the office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the state’s wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor.
In the last year, the Fair Labor Division has issued 85 citations against 36 employers engaged in prevailing wage projects totaling more than $2 million in restitution and penalties. The Division also fielded more than 17,000 calls from members of the public and received more than 5,000 wage and hour complaints.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Erik Bennett and Investigator Tom Lam, both of AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division.