The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has again used its authority to stop work at a construction site at which subcontractors were found to be violating state labor laws.
NJDOL issued stop-work orders Thursday to three subcontractors working at the construction site of a warehouse in Mercer County.
The project is located at 380 Scotch Road, Ewing, and managed by Pennsylvania-based general contractor WARFEL. The NJDOL’s Division of Wage and Hour Compliance conducted an audit and investigation of the three subcontractors after receiving a complaint.
The subcontractors who were issued the stop-work orders were Latz, Inc., of Tenafly for failure to pay prevailing wage; Westwood Construction of NJ LLC of Millstone Township for failure to pay prevailing wage; and Benchmark Site Development LLC of Norristown, Pa., for failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Latz and Benchmark were also cited for bidding on and performing public work without having registered with the Department as a public works contractor.
“While a vast majority of employers do right by their employees, it is disturbing to find this concentration of bad actors,” said Assistant Commissioner Joseph Petrecca of the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance.“ The NJDOL’s ability to act on situations like this highlights the effectiveness of the employee protections our state strengthened under the Murphy Administration to ensure that employers are treating their workers with fairness and dignity, in accordance with the law.”
“Public contracting is a privilege, not a right. We are ensuring no taxpayer dollars are being used to exploit workers,” he added.
As of July 2019, the NJDOL has the authority to require an employer to cease business operations when significant pay, benefits, or other workers’ rights violations are documented. The tool has been used to shut down specific worksites, and in one case, to order shut all of a contractor’s current workplaces throughout the state.
Upon receipt of the stop-work order, each of the cited contractors has the right to appeal the order and contest the action during a hearing.
The NJDOL continues to investigate additional contractors working on the Ewing warehouse project.
Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 firstname.lastname@example.org has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
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