When employers fail to pay honest wages and overtime to workers, it’s illegal and a violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. In the construction industry, such “wage theft” is on the rise nationwide and several states are cracking down.

Employer wage theft can take many forms:

  • Failing to pay the minimum wage
  • Misclassifying employees as independent contractors,
  • Failing to pay “time-and-a-half” overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 per week
  • Failing to pay payroll taxes
  • Failing to pay unemployment
  • Failing to pay insurance
  • Failing to pay workers compensation
  • Failing to maintain proper and accurate time records

Recent news stories from the Boston Globe, the New York Daily News, and Fox 13 Salt Lake City show how common construction industry wage theft has become:

  • In Massachusetts, more than $1.6 million has been recovered in the past 18 months for wage and overtime violations in the state’s construction industry.
  • A Brooklyn, New York asbestos removal company was indicted in federal court for failing to report wages of nearly $80,000 for 21 of its laborers.
  • Federal investigators in Utah found that construction workers were cheated out of nearly $2 million dollars.

News stories indicate that part of the reason wage theft plagues the building trades is because many of the workers are immigrants who are simply unaware of their rights.

Those working in construction jobs are entitled to fair and honest compensation for actual hours worked, including overtime, as well as payment of workers compensation and insurance. The attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’ Employment Litigation Group have handled hundreds of wage and hour disputes – if you suspect your employer has engaged in wage theft and withheld your hard-earned pay, please contact us today.

Jason J. Thompson

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Jason J. Thompson

Jason Thompson is a nationally board certified trial attorney and co-chairs Sommers Schwartz’s Complex Litigation Department. He has a formidable breadth of litigation experience, including class action and multidistrict litigation (MDL), and practices nationwide in both state and federal courts.