Failure to Pay Prevailing Wages
New York City Prevailing Wage Lawyers
People that work on government-funded projects have the rights to fair pay—that is, the right to be paid “the prevailing wage”. Our New York City prevailing wage lawyers can work with those who are not getting the compensation they are legally entitled to and seek ways for them to become financially whole.
Brown Kwon & Lam believes everyone deserves legal representation that is accessible, professional, and diligent in fighting for their rights. From our New York City office, we serve people in Long Island, Westchester County, New York and New Jersey.
Prevailing Wages & The Davis-Bacon Act
In 1931, as a means of combatting The Great Depression, the federal government enacted The Davis-Bacon Act. Named for its sponsors, the legislation required that all contractors and subcontractors on government projects pay their employees the prevailing wage for their specific job in their specific region of the country. A concept that began as a short-term means of boosting worker pay during some very bad economic times has become an important component of the rights of labor in the United States.
The prevailing wages for projects funded by the state of New York are determined by the state’s Department of Labor. These rates are updated each year, to reflect both inflation and any adjustments that have happened within the relevant profession. The federal government’s Department of Labor makes the same determination for any projects authorized and funded by the U.S. Congress.
If you or someone you love isn’t getting paid what they are legally owed, Brown Kwon & Lam can help.
Ways Employees Can Be Defrauded of Prevailing Wages
There are a large number of ways that employees end up not receiving the compensation that is rightfully due to them. Some of the reasons are unintentional and may be the result of the employer not being familiar with all that’s required for Davis-Bacon compliance. Other times, the employer may have been willful in the underpayment of wages.
Ultimately, whether the reason was honest error or malfeasance is something for prosecutors to decide—violation of Davis-Bacon can be a felony offense under certain circumstances. What matters most from the perspective of our New York City prevailing wage attorney is to get our client a fair settlement for the money that is due them, along with appropriate damages for all that was endured.
Common ways an employee might be defrauded include the following…
- Being misclassified. Some types of jobs pay higher prevailing wages than others. Putting an employee into a lower classification is a way to pay them less. This can include labeling someone an apprentice when they are actually fully trained and prepared to do the job.
- Not treating a project that is publicly funded as a prevailing wage job. It’s not uncommon for contractors to handle both public and private projects, and it’s not uncommon for employees to be unaware of who is bankrolling a particular project. For example, is renovation of a housing project being done privately by the landlord, or is it part of a government initiative? If the employee doesn’t know, they might not get paid what they ought.
- The failure to pay overtime on hours that exceed 40 per week. This is a wage and hour violation in ways that go beyond Davis-Bacon compliance, and can include other violations like not providing rest breaks or lunch hours.
The Davis-Bacon Act exists to make sure the people that put in the labor on public projects get to share in the rewards. Brown Kwon & Lam exists to make sure that those people get the legal representation they need to get what they are owed.
If you suspect you might not be getting a fair wage, call our office at (212) 295-5828 or reach out right here online. Our New York City prevailing wage lawyers will talk through your case, advise on what’s needed to prove it, and then fight hard for your rights.