The following is a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office submitted to SOURCE media.
BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today, October 14, announced citations totaling $636,796 in penalties and restitution for 23 workers against three construction companies for prevailing wage and records violations in connection with a public construction project.
The AG’s Fair Labor Division issued five citations totaling $398,913 against Machados Construction Services LLC and its manager Leandro Machado, two citations totaling $217,738 against Real Construction Inc. and its President Elismar J. Custodio, and five citations totaling $20,145 against WF North Lion Inc. and Wirley M. De Freitas.
“Companies that try to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors by not paying workers will be held accountable,” said AG Healey. “Prevailing wage laws are in place to ensure there is a level playing field for those who work on our public projects.”
The AG’s Office began investigating the companies after receiving a referral from the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters alleging that construction workers on the Sutton Police Station project were not being paid the prevailing wage. According to the referral, workers on the project were paid only $15 to $20 per hour for carpentry work, far less than the state-mandated prevailing wage rate of $68.72 per hour. AG investigators issued payroll demands to Machados, Real Construction, WF that showed employees at each of the companies were regularly underpaid for work performed on the Sutton project. The AG’s investigators also discovered that Machados had failed to pay employees the prevailing wage on another public construction project awarded by the Malden Housing Authority.
The AG’s Office enforces laws that regulate the payment of wages, including prevailing wage laws that apply to certain public construction projects and public works to ensure quality workmanship and fairness in the awarding of public contracts. The law imposes a special minimum wage and requires contractors and subcontractors working on public works construction projects to submit weekly true and accurate certified payroll records to the authority that awards the contractors the public construction projects.
The AG’s Office recently released its fifth annual Labor Day Report on the Fair Labor Division’s efforts to address wage theft and other forms of worker exploitation in fiscal year 2020. The report shows that the Division assessed more than $12.3 million in restitution and penalties against employers on behalf of workers in Massachusetts. The report also shows that the Fair Labor Division continued to prioritize wage theft in the construction industry and assessed nearly $2.5 million in restitution and penalties against construction employers on behalf of more than 500 employees in fiscal year 2020.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor.
For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the AG’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.
These matters were investigated by Investigator Tom Lam of the AG’s Fair Labor Division.