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U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 13-1315-CHI

Date: 

Aug. 13, 2013

Contact: 

Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke

Phone: 

(312) 353-6976

William J. Lang Land Clearing pays more than $106,000 in back wages following a US Department of Labor investigation


Contractor denies employees prevailing wages, fringe benefits on federally funded project

BEAVERTON, Mich. -- William J. Lang Land Clearing has been found liable for $106,897 in back wages to 23 employees of the Beaverton heavy equipment company because of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The department found that the company performed work on six federally funded road projects in Michigan, and a departmental administrative law judge issued a decision and ordered the company to pay the back wages that the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit had previously determined were owed to employees.

The investigation found that William J. Lang Land Clearing misclassified power-equipment operators, which resulted in them being paid less than the required prevailing wages and fringe benefits for work on a federally funded project for the Michigan Department of Transportation. This violated the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. Because the company failed to pay the correct prevailing wage rate, overtime compensation was also calculated inaccurately, in violation of the CWHSSA. The company also improperly took credit toward its fringe benefits requirement by averaging its employee health insurance costs on an annual basis. The department filed an order of reference against the company after the case did not settle administratively.

“The resolution of this case will provide long overdue wages to power-equipment operators, who were denied prevailing wages during this contract,” said Timolin Mitchell, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Detroit District Office. “Enforcement of the prevailing wage laws levels the playing field for all contractors and ensures that workers bring home the wages they have rightfully earned. The department will not be deterred from recovering wages due, even when it takes several years.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation, the contracting agency, has released $84,095 for payment of back wages due that it withheld from payments to the employer during the course of the litigation. William J. Lang Land Clearing has paid the additional wages owed of $22,802.

The Davis-Bacon Act requires all contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal and certain federally funded projects to pay their laborers and mechanics the proper prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits, as determined by the secretary of labor. On a Davis-Bacon Act covered project, the prime contractor is responsible for the compliance of all subcontractors.

The CWHSSA applies to federal service contracts and federal and federally assisted construction contracts of more than $100,000. These require contractors and subcontractors on covered contracts to pay laborers and mechanics employed in the performance of the contracts one and one-half times their basic rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

For more information about the FLSA, Davis-Bacon Act, the CWHSSA and other federal laws, contact the Wage and Hour Division’s Detroit District Office at 313-226-7447, or call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.

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