Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Violations of Davis-Bacon Results in Three-Year Suspension for One Contractor

The Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) who routinely conducts 'audits' of contractor compliance with various labor laws including the DBRA (Davis-Bacon and Related Acts) recently found four contractors working on a construction project in violation of the DBRA. Each of the four contractors were found to have shorted employees and all have agreed to pay those employees affected by the violations.

One of the contractors agreed to pay $69 thousand to 19 employees for failing to pay finishers, painters, and carpenters prevailing wage rates required by the DBRA. The contractor also failed to pay the required fringe benefits. This wasn't the first time this particular contractor ran afoul of the WHD investigators. Back in 2017, WHD investigators found other violations of DBRA and  had to pay back $99 thousand to 95 employees. Because of the repeat and willful nature of the violations, the contractor and its owner have been declared ineligible to bid on federal DBRA contracts for a period of three years. We didn't know that WHD had such authority but evidently someone other than a contracting officer can make such decisions.

The other three contractors caught up in this investigation each agreed to pay back wages and fringe benefits as well. In total, these payments reached a quarter of a million dollars.

Government contractors receive detailed agreements that include prevailing wage and fringe benefits rates, required to be paid by all contractors working on a federally funded project. Prime contractors must assure that their subcontractors adhere to these rules as well. Many times, violations are the result of contractors (and subcontractors) down-grading the skill classification of their employees and paying them lesser amounts.

The WHD press release on this case can be found here.

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