News Release

Maryland subcontractor pays $531K in back wages to 45 ironworkers after US Department of Labor investigation

Federal wage laws violated at federally funded National Institute of Health project

CLINTON, MD – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recovered $531,173 in back wages for 45 ironworkers subcontracted for federally funded construction at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda. Investigators found their employer failed to pay them the required prevailing wages and benefits for ironworkers.

The investigation revealed that Clinton-based HMW LLC falsified its certified payrolls and hid the fact that the employees were making at least $14 an hour less, per hour, than the projects required wage for ironworkers. The subcontractor also failed to maintain proper records.

The department executed a Debarment Consent Agreement with the firm HMW LLC; the firm’s owner and president, Roxanne Harris; and its operations manager, Robert Harris, as a result of serious labor standards violations related to the firm’s performance on the NIH contract.  Under this agreement, the debarred parties will remain ineligible to bid on federal contracts covered by the Davis Bacon and Related Acts for a period of three years.

“Employers awarded federal contracts are aware of requirements such as the Davis Bacon and Related Acts and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, and must certify that all employees on the job site receive the wages and benefits they are rightfully due,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director John DuMont in Pittsburgh. “In this case, HMW failed to do so and we stepped in to require the company to pay its ironworkers all of their legally earned wages.” 

HMW LLC was a subcontractor for a large scale, multi-level renovation project at the NIH’s Clinical Center Complex.

The prime contractors on federally funded projects are required to ensure all on-site laborers are paid at least the locally prevailing wage rates – including fringe benefits – and that subcontractors comply with the law. Contractors and subcontractors on these projects are also required to pay covered workers weekly and submit certified weekly payroll records to the federal agency contracting the work. In addition, they must post the Davis-Bacon poster (WH-1321) on the job site so that workers are aware of their protections.

For more information about the DBRA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.

Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
August 25, 2021
Release Number
21-1421-NEW
Contact: Joanna Hawkins
Contact: Leni Fortson
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