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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 11-323-NEW / BOS 2011-168

Date: 

May 9, 2011

Contact: 

John M. Chavez

Phone: 

617-565-2075

US Labor Department seeks back wages for employees of New York electrical contractor working on Recovery Act-funded housing projects


Department proposes debarring company from federal contracts for 3 years

NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor has taken legal action to recover more than $13,500 in back wages for 10 workers employed as laborers and electricians by Reliant Electrical Contracting Inc. in Brooklyn and company president Mohammed Quashem Bhuyain, and to seek the debarment of both from working on federally funded contracts for three years.

An investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division revealed that the company and its officials willfully had violated wage, benefit, certified payroll and other requirements while working on the federally funded Ciena Project at 30-324 E. 100 St., as well as the Hobbs Court Project at 315 E. 102 St., both in Manhattan. These projects are part of the Metro North Rehabilitation Redevelopment Program and are funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Consequently, both projects are subject to the wage and benefit requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the certified payroll requirements of the Copeland Anti-Kickback Act.

“The Labor Department is conducting an unprecedented number of investigations to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used properly and workers of Recovery Act-funded projects are being paid full and fair compensation for all hours of their hard work,” said Maria Rosado, the New York district director for the Wage and Hour Division. “This action against Reliant Electrical and its president should remind all contractors that the cost of noncompliance on publicly funded projects is high, as it includes the very real possibility of debarment from future contracts with the government.”

Specifically, the investigation by Rosado’s office determined that Reliant failed to pay prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits to its employees, and to pay them for all their hours worked on the project. The company also submitted certified payroll records that did not accurately reflect all of the employees who worked on the project, and failed to reflect all the actual hours worked by employees on the project.

Reliant Electrical Contracting Inc. was a subcontractor to Lettire Construction Corp., which itself was a subcontractor on two contracts awarded by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development for the Ciena Project and the Hobbs Court Project. The Labor Department is also seeking debarment of Lettire Construction from federal contracts for a period of three years. The prime contractors on these projects were Hobbs Ciena Associates LP and Hobbs Ciena Housing Development Fund Corp.

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. In addition, the Copeland Anti-Kickback Act requires contractors and subcontractors to submit weekly certified payroll statements attesting to the fact that they are properly paying their employees according to the requirements of the law.

For more information on the Davis-Bacon Act and other federal laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, 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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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.