New York AG sues construction group for discriminatory wage practices‏

Nick Rees Oct. 15, 2009, 4:23pm

Andrew Cuomo (D)

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - A lawsuit has been filed against a group of six New York construction and contracting companies alleged to have failed to pay its employees more than $4 million in wages and overtime pay.

The group is also alleged to have discriminated against African-American, Brazilian and Latino employees in terms and conditions of employment.

The companies, which are all controlled by Michael Mahoney of Pearl River, N.Y., include EMC of New York Inc., FSC Construction LLC, FSC General Construction LLC, BMC Construction Contractors Corporation, Eastlake Industries Inc., and Rigid Concrete Construction.

The companies are all providers of carpentry and concrete services for construction sites throughout New York City.

"New York is supported by the hundreds of thousands of construction workers who labor tirelessly to build and maintain this City," Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said. "To deny workers the wages guaranteed by this State, or to discriminate against them based on race and ethnicity is a gross violation of the law and a disgraceful abuse of power. Today's lawsuit is a message to all businesses in New York - you play by the rules or you face the legal consequences."

Mahoney's construction companies are alleged to have consistently failed to pay dozens of employees millions of dollars in overtime wages from work at over 10 construction sites since 2002.

The employees, the majority of whom worked as many as fifty or sixty hours a week, allegedly were not paid the overtime rate of one-and-a-half times their regular wages, causing some of the employees to be unpaid by more than $600 per month.

Mahoney's companies are also charged with discrimination in the complaint, which alleges that non-minority workers were refused promotions, barred from supervisory positions, denied leave and paid lower wages for the same work as white workers.

An investigation by the attorney general revealed that non-minority employees were paid approximately $25 per hour for work on average. African-American employees were found to have an hourly rate of approximately $18, and Latino and Brazilian employees were paid approximately $15 per hour.

Non-minority employees were also allegedly hired into higher-paying positions without regard to individual qualifications or were paid higher wages for the same type of work as performed by minorities.

Cuomo's lawsuit seeks to force the companies to pay the unpaid overtimes and other wages that the workers are entitled to. The lawsuit also aims to reform the group's business practices by instituting policies and procedures to ensure that employees are not discriminated against and paid lawfully.

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