NJ Labor Department Issues Stop-Work Order for Wage Violations, Misclassification of Workers
TRENTON – A subcontractor on a construction job in Jersey City, who paid some workers by check but failed to take out deductions or keep payroll records, was issued a stop-work order by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which now has the authority to stop an employer from working on a job site when significant pay, benefits, or other workers’ rights violations are documented.
The subcontractor, REB Construction and Maintenance LLC of Bound Brook, was issued a stop-work order on Jan. 31 for work at 100 Water St., Jersey City. The general contractor for the project, Katerra, with offices in Jersey City and Newark as well as throughout the US, has since replaced REB at the site.
A Labor Department investigation confirmed that owner Eduardo De Jesus Acuna paid seven workers by check or cash, but took no deductions from their pay. The business was cited for failure to maintain records (34:56a20/12:56-4.1), failure to pay payroll taxes (34:6-148/34:6-149), improper classification of construction workers (34:20.5), and failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance (34:6-149).
A total of $19,250 in penalties has been assessed.
“We are sending a loud, clear and strong message to bad actors in construction and every other industry: We will do everything in our power to protect the overwhelming majority of fair and honest business owners from the few who cheat their workers and hurt our economy,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “We will protect workers by ensuring their rights to proper wages, paid family and sick leave, equal pay, minimum wage and overtime, and a safe workplace.”
Gov. Murphy has made workers’ rights a priority of his administration. He convened a task force on misclassification early in his tenure, then worked with the Legislature to enact all seven of the task force’s legislative recommendations. Among them was the power to issue stop-work orders to businesses where significant labor violations were documented to have occurred.
For more information on New Jersey’s laws, visit myworkrights.nj.gov.