Bryan Cohen May 21, 2014, 2:32pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a lawsuit on Friday against a New Hampshire drywall company and its owner for allegedly misclassifying employees as independent contractors on construction projects.

Universal Drywall LLC and its owner, Richard Pelletier, allegedly violated the Massachusetts False Claims Act and the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act to gain an unfair advantage over similar companies in Massachusetts.

"Employers are required to pay employees a lawful wage for each hour of work on construction projects, maintain accurate payroll records, and produce those records upon demand," Coakley said. "We enforce these laws not only to protect workers, but to level the playing field for all businesses that play by the rules."

Universal allegedly misclassified New Hampshire workers as independent contractors on publicly-funded projects at the Tahanto Regional High School in Boylston and the Douglas Intermediate School in Douglas. The practices allegedly violated Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law.

Universal allegedly used the classification practices to save costs and obtain contracts by underbidding its competitors. The company also allegedly created and submitted false records related to the classification of its workers.

Coakley's office is responsible for enforcing laws that regulate the payment of wages and employee misclassification. Coakley also enforces laws that protect consumers and businesses from unfair competition.

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