- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
- The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division
Media Contact for AG Healey Assesses Nearly $3 Million in Penalties and Back Wages Against Construction Companies in 2019
Boston — As part of an ongoing initiative to combat wage theft in the construction industry, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that her office issued 205 citations against 102 construction companies in 2019 for violating the state’s wage and hour and prevailing wage laws. As a part of these enforcement actions, more than 850 employees will receive $1.6 million in restitution and the companies will pay nearly $1.3 million in fines.
The AG’s office also debarred 17 companies and individuals that failed to comply with citations. These companies will be barred from obtaining public construction contracts in Massachusetts.
“In the midst of a historic construction boom across Massachusetts, our Fair Labor Division is committed to ensuring a level playing field for honest employers and a fair environment for workers,” said AG Healey. “We will continue to educate the construction industry about its rights and responsibilities under the law, and partner with industry groups, workers’ rights organizations, and labor unions to curb abuses.”
Violations in these cases, handled by the AG’s Fair Labor Division, include the failure to pay wages in a timely manner, to pay overtime, and to furnish records for inspection, as well as retaliation. For work performed on public construction projects, violations include failure to pay the prevailing wage, to submit true and accurate certified payroll records, and to register and pay apprentices appropriately.
Some of the 2019 enforcement actions include citations against the following construction companies:
- K & R Construction Company LLC and Ryan Greenwich and Jaime M. Whitney, were cited more than $244,000 for violations that occurred between 2016 and 2018, including failing to pay the prevailing wage and overtime and records violations.
- Larry W. Crites and Jared M. Crites d/b/a JM Crites Roofing & Construction in Taunton were cited more than $35,000 in restitution and penalties for failing to provide suitable paystubs, to pay overtime and the prevailing wage for work performed on a public project, and records violations.
- B.A.S Contractors Corp. and its president Breno Souza were cited more than $70,000 for failing to pay wages in a timely manner as well as minimum wage and overtime, and records violations for work performed at Logan Airport’s Embassy Suites/Hilton Boston.
- N.E. Tech-Air Inc. and its president Robert A. Lilly were cited more than $240,000 for failing to pay prevailing wage and records violations for work performed on a public works project at Blue Hills Regional Tech High School.
The AG’s Office performed visits at 24 construction sites last year, engaging with more than 100 contractors and sub-contractors. These visits help the office connect with and educate employers and workers about their rights and duties under state laws. In November 2019, the AG’s Fair Labor Division formed a multi-lingual construction field team charged with visiting construction sites across the state each week to interview and educate workers and employers.
In 2019, the Fair Labor Division also prioritized educating employers and authorities that award public works projects about public construction and prevailing wage laws. To help awarding authorities select responsible bidders, the Fair Labor Division sent letters to awarding authorities notifying them that prevailing wage violations occurred on their public construction projects. The Fair Labor Division also holds regular trainings as part of the Inspector General’s Certified Public Purchasing Officer certification program, and offers free quarterly webinar trainings on the prevailing wage laws. For more information, please visit the AG’s website.
The Fair Labor Division’s Bid Unit, which is responsible for investigating and enforcing the competitive bidding laws that govern contracts for public construction in Massachusetts, resolved 68 bid protests in 2019.
Other efforts by the Fair Labor Division in 2019 included convening a roundtable with representatives from state and federal law enforcement and government agencies as well as academics and advocates to discuss efforts to address payroll fraud within the construction industry. The Fair Labor Division made 50 payroll fraud referrals in 2019 to the Massachusetts Council on the Underground Economy and state and federal agencies to investigate and combat insurance fraud and tax evasion by unscrupulous employers.
As a part of its continued efforts to protect workers and their families in Massachusetts, the AG’s Office issued its fourth annual Labor Day Report on the office’s efforts to address wage theft and other forms of worker exploitation in September 2019. The report shows that in fiscal year 2019, the office assessed more than $9.8 million in restitution and penalties against employers on behalf of working people in Massachusetts.
AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division is responsible for enforcing state laws regulating the payment of wages, including prevailing wage, minimum wage, earned sick time and overtime laws, as well as the competitive bidding laws that govern contracts for public works construction. Workers who believe their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/wagetheft.
For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the Office’s Fair Labor Hotline at 617-727-3465 or go to the Attorney General’s new Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.