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Coakley, flooring company reach agreement

By Bryan Cohen | Jun 13, 2011


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Thursday that an Allston-based flooring company has been ordered to pay $26,000 in fines for labor violations.

Floor Sanders and Finishers of Massachusetts allegedly misclassified its employees as independent contractors and violated record-keeping policies. Floor Sanders and its president, Varouj J. Nersesian, was cited for wage and hour violations in April 2008 and paid $5,500 for allegedly misclassifying employees and failing to pay the prevailing wage. The company agreed to a two-year debarment at that time for those violations.

The alleged new violations are related to flooring work performed before the debarment from November 2008 to December 2008 at the New Senior Center Construction public works program in Agawam.

"The independent contractor law is designed to ensure that all companies conduct business on a level playing field, and our office will continue to enforce that law, whether it is a first time offense or a repeat violation," Coakley said.

Coakley's office alleges that Floor Sanders classified three of its workers as independent contractors and paid the workers with company checks, failed to maintain true and accurate payroll records, and failed to submit true and accurate certified payroll records to the awarding authority for the construction project.

The Massachusetts Employee Misclassification Law requires that an individual performing a service should be classified as an employee unless the individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under his or her contract for the performance of service, and in fact and that the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as the one involved in the service performed, and the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer.

Companies misclassifying individuals may deprive their workers of multiple benefits and protections that employees enjoy, including unemployment insurance, workers' compensation benefits and employer-provided healthcare, Coakley says. Misclassified independent contractors are also often underpaid for hours worked.

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