Construction company settles with Coakley

Keith Loria Aug. 19, 2010, 10:10am


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Tuesday that she has reached a settlement with a construction company accused of violating Massachusetts' wage and hour, prevailing wage and independent contractor laws.

Under terms of the settlement, Teles Construction and its president, Juliano Teles Fernandes, will pay approximately $40,000 in restitution to 44 employees as well as a $15,000 penalty to Massachusetts. The defendants are also barred for three months on any business practices associated with public works construction projects in the state.

"All workers deserve to be paid in accordance with the law, and our office will hold accountable any employer that tries to deny his or her employees the wages they are owed," Coakley said.

Coakley's office learned of possible violations in March 2009, when a complaint was received by the attorney general's Fair Labor Division about the company not paying overtime and misclassifying its employees as independent contractors.

Coakley's Fair Labor Division alleged that Teles Construction and Fernandes misclassified eight employees as independent contractors and failed to pay the correct wage rate to 42 employees who were on the job at the Swansea Police Station and the Westport Housing Authority public works projects.

The division further alleged that Fernandes and his company did not compensate five employees with proper overtime rates and did not keep or submit accurate certified payroll records to the awarding authorities for the two projects.

In Massachusetts, the prevailing wage and records keeping laws apply to all construction work performed on public works projects and allows all bidding contractors on these projects a "level playing field" by standardizing the rate of pay the workers will earn.

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