Press Release

Press Release Cleaning Company with Statewide Whole Foods Contract Cited $335,000 for Wage, Payroll Violations and Worker Misclassification

For immediate release:
4/17/2019
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
  • The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division

Media Contact for Cleaning Company with Statewide Whole Foods Contract Cited $335,000 for Wage, Payroll Violations and Worker Misclassification

Meggie Quackenbush

BostonA cleaning and janitorial services company and its president will pay $335,000 in restitution and penalties for misclassifying its workers as independent contractors and for violating the earned sick time law, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

The AG’s Office issued four citations against United Services Group Inc. (USG), a company formerly responsible for providing janitorial services at all Massachusetts Whole Foods locations, and its president and treasurer Edivaldo Reis, for misclassifying its workers as independent contractors and for failing to maintain an earned sick leave policy, furnish a suitable pay stub, and maintain true and accurate records.  

“Employers who misclassify their employees are cheating their workers and gaining an unfair advantage over businesses that play by the rules,” said AG Healey. “We thank these workers for coming forward and speaking up for themselves and their co-workers. We encourage all workers to contact our office if they aren’t being paid fairly.”

The AG’s Office began its investigation after receiving a referral from Greater Boston Legal Services, Metrowest Worker Center – Casa, and the Brazilian Women’s Group. The investigation revealed that USG failed to keep complete payroll or timekeeping records and paid many of its employees as independent contractors through a shell company that Reis operated. Investigators also discovered that the company did not have a sick time policy.

The earned sick time law allows for workers to use up to 40 hours of earned sick time per year if they (or their child, spouse, parent, or spouse’s parent) are sick or injured or have a routine medical appointment.

Through the course of the investigation, Reis admitted the employees were his and agreed to pay restitution and penalties.

Whole Foods has terminated its contract with the company.

In Massachusetts, there is a presumption that all workers are employees and therefore entitled to certain protections and benefits under the law. Workers who believe that they have been misclassified as independent contractors or that their rights have been violated 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 Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Amy Goyer and Investigator Soledad Aylward of the AG’s Fair Labor Division.

###

Media Contact for Cleaning Company with Statewide Whole Foods Contract Cited $335,000 for Wage, Payroll Violations and Worker Misclassification

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division 

The Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division protects workers from exploitation and sets a level playing field for employers. We enforce wage and hour, public construction, and child labor laws.
Feedback