Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
NEW ORLEANS -- The U.S. Department of Labor announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Peter R. Pocorello Construction Inc. in New Orleans, and the company’s owner, Peter Pocorello, to prevent the company from obtaining government contracts for a three-year period.
The lawsuit, which was filed with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, stems from an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division in New Orleans. Investigators found that Pocorello did not ensure that its subcontractors paid employees the prevailing wage rates or proper overtime as required by the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.
“The rules were laid out in the bidding process and when the job was awarded,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator of the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “Just like the recipients of federal contracts, the Wage and Hour Division has a responsibility to U.S. taxpayers, and it obliges us to report when a prime contractor has been derelict and laborers at a contract work site have been paid less than what was promised.”
Pocorello was contracted on a federally funded construction project to build 460 apartments in New Orleans and to renovate an existing community center. Pocorello subcontracted framing work to various companies without requiring certified payrolls, prevailing wage rates or overtime pay. The investigation found seven subcontractors owed 105 employees a combined total of $99,422 in back wages.
The DBRA applies to federally funded and certain federally assisted construction contracts in the United States. The act requires that every covered construction contract in excess of $2,500 contain a wage determination reflecting wages and fringe benefits prevailing in the locality, and that contractors pay laborers and mechanics no less than that prevailing wage rate. The CWHSSA requires payment of overtime to laborers and mechanics employed on covered contracts at one and one-half times the hourly wage rate.
The suit was filed by the department’s Regional Solicitor’s Office in Dallas. For more information about the DBRA, CWHSSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), or its New Orleans District Office at 504-589-6171. Information also is available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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