- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
- The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division
Media Contact for Construction Company Cited Over $837,000 for Making Illegal Deductions From Workers’ Paychecks
Boston — A Leominster construction company has been cited $837,341 in restitution and penalties for violating state wage and hour laws and making unlawful deductions from employees’ paychecks, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The AG’s Office issued two civil citations to Force Corporation and its managers Juliano Fernandes, a repeat wage act violator; Anderson Dos Santos; and Claudio Cicero Da Silva for failure to make timely payment of wages and failure to furnish payroll records to the AG’s Office.
“Force Corporation and its managers cheated their construction workers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said AG Healey. “To build this case, our team documented the use of dozens of illegal tricks used by employers to steal from workers. This is a textbook example of wage theft in the construction industry and we will keep working until every worker is made whole.”
The AG’s Office began its investigation after the New England Regional Council of Carpenters referred complaints from Force workers to the AG’s Fair Labor Division alleging wage violations at two projects, one in Littleton and the CATS Academy Project in Braintree.
During the investigation, the AG’s Office issued multiple payroll demands to Force that uncovered an extensive practice whereby managers regularly took illegal deductions from employees’ weekly wages for tools, safety equipment, discipline, advances, and other purposes.
The investigation revealed that Force unlawfully required employees to purchase their construction tools through a company owned by Fernandes. The company’s tool purchase agreements were poorly drafted, misleading, and available only in English, which Fernandes knew many of the employees would be unable to understand. The investigation also revealed that even for potentially-lawful deductions, Force did not maintain the required records.
The AG’s Office has previously cited Fernandes as owner of construction companies Teles Construction Inc. and Twin Pines Construction Inc. for wage and hour violations. Past violations ranged from failure to pay overtime and prevailing wage to employee misclassification and failure to maintain true and accurate records.
The AG’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. The AG’s Office has prioritized wage theft in the construction industry. In fiscal year 2018, the AG’s Fair Labor Division issued 97 citations against 45 employers in the construction industry for a total of nearly $1.1 million in assessed restitution and penalties impacting more than 331 workers.
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 Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Drew Cahill, Supervising Investigator Greg Reutlinger and Investigator Ricardo Galvis, all of the AG’s Fair Labor Division.