Madigan reaches settlements with construction firms

Ashley Stinnett Aug. 12, 2009, 7:26pm

Lisa Madigan (D)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has reached a settlement with five Chicago-based construction firms over allegations the companies violated the state's Employee Classification Act.

The five companies had been accused of classifying full time workers as independent contractors in order to get around state law, Madigan said.

The defendants named are: Jerry Ryce Builders Inc. and Jerry Ryce Masonry Inc., owned by Boguslaw Omielan and S Masonary Inc., JS Masonry & Tuckpointing, Inc. and JS Masonry & Stone, Inc., owned by Jan Staszel.

Under the terms of the settlement, the businesses agreed to classify all of their employees, as well as pay $79,000 to the state in fees and penalties.

The agreement also forbids the companies from participating in construction projects with public bodies for the next four years.

Under the settlement, the attorney general's office can inspect all five firms for compliance with state labor laws over the next five years.

"This agreement requires these five companies to legally recognize the hard-working men and women they employ by no longer denying them the benefits to which they are entitled," Madigan said.

According to Illinois law, workers must be treated as employees unless they meet specific criteria permitting them to be classified as independent contractors.

Companies that misclassify workers intentionally violate the Employee Classification Act, the Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act, and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

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