BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Friday that three masonry companies and their owners have been ordered to pay more than $68,000 for allegedly failing to pay the prevailing wage.

The Fair Labor Division conducted site inspections of nine public construction projects. During the inspections, the division observed and filmed employees performing masonry tasks, such as cutting brick or block, with a masonry saw. A review of the certified payroll records these companies submitted to the awarding authorities allegedly showed that the employers misclassified their masonry workers as laborers and they subsequently failed to pay the employees the prevailing wage rate.

"All workers on public construction projects in the commonwealth deserve to be paid what they are rightfully owed under the law," Coakley said. "Any employer that has a state or municipal contract must abide by the rules, which includes properly classifying their employees in their records."

The Department of Labor Standards is statutorily authorized to set the prevailing wage rates for all public construction projects in the state and to determine which tasks fall into which job classifications. In 2004 and 2008, the DLS issued letters stating that cutting block or brick is a masonry task.

D'Agostino Associates Inc. of Newton and John D'Agostino of West Newton were fined a total of $30,000 for four alleged violations at Norwood High School, Hanover High School, Avery Elementary School in Dedham and Natick High School. Lighthouse Masonry Inc. of New Bedford, and Paul M. Alves of North Dartmouth were fined a total of $22,500 for three alleged violations at Wayland High School, Salem State University and the Ruane Judicial Center in Salem. Fernandes Masonry Inc. of New Bedford and Victor M. Fernandes of Acushnet were fined a total of $15,000 for two alleged violations at the Westboro Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade project and the Weston Public Works project.

Each company was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine for each wage violation and to pay restitution to their employees for the one hour's worth of time spent on masonry work. In addition, Coakley's office ordered Lighthouse Masonry and Paul Alves to pay a $500 fine for allegedly failing to submit true and accurate certified payroll records at the Ruane Judicial Center project as a result of its failure to list one of its employees on the certified payroll record.

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