US Department of Labor finds Virginia tech, engineering contractor underpaid 63 workers $268K in pay, benefits on government-funded project
HAVELOCK, NC – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $268,014 in back wages for 63 workers of a Reston, Virginia, technical and engineering contractor who denied them a portion of their wages and benefits while they worked on a Department of Defense project in Havelock.
A review of company pay records by investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found Adams Communications and Engineering Technology Inc. paid some workers a rate lower than the prevailing wage rate – the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific job – and failed to pay nearly all employees who worked on the contract enough wages to cover the health benefits. The employer also failed to pay full overtime wages due to two workers by paying the wrong rate of pay to one hourly employee and by failing to pay another worker time-and-a-half their required rate for hours over 40 in a workweek.
The employer’s action violated several requirements of the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act, which governs pay practices of contractors and subcontractors working on federally funded contracts.
In addition, Adams Communications did not provide employees working on the contract paid sick leave as the Service Contract Act requires, and required them to take leave without pay or use vacation hours when they were sick. The employer’s records also failed to list fringe benefit payments, correct rates of pay and classifications for workers, a recordkeeping violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Employers awarded federal projects must pay workers all of the wages and benefits they are due, consistent with the terms of the government contract,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Richard Blaylock in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Failure to pay the correct prevailing wage rate for the work performed can be a costly error and lead to additional violations if overtime is required. Other federal contractors should use the outcome of this investigation as an opportunity to review their own pay practices and ensure they comply with the law.”
The Department of Defense contracted Adams Communications, Engineering Technology Inc. to fabricate updated wiring harness and installation service for the MH-60 helicopter at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. The company operates branches in six locations, including Aberdeen Proving Ground and California, Maryland; Havelock, North Carolina; Coronado, California; and Norfolk, Virginia.
Workers who feel they are not getting the wages they earned may contact a Wage and Hour Division representative in their state through a list and interactive online map on the agency’s website or use the online search tool if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. The division also offers numerous online resources for employers, including a website for frequently asked questions about the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act. Employers and workers can get their questions answered by contacting the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE. Download the agency’s new Timesheet App, now available for android devices, to ensure hours and pay are accurate.