Employers use many different strategies to evade New Jersey’s overtime laws. The strategies range from threatened discharge to bribing employees. The state’s attorney general recently announced that the compensation manager with a large Bergen County construction company has entered into a non-prosecution agreement regarding several alleged violations and that the company’s payroll manager has been charged with several violations of the state’s overtime laws.
The allegations involve public works projects
The allegations against both the company and the payroll manager involve contracts for public works in the state and violations of the state Prevailing Wage Act. The attorney general’s office alleged that the company demanded kickbacks before it would pay them mandatory overtime. The company has agreed to pay slightly more than $1 million to reimburse seven workers who were cheated out of earned wages and overtime by the company’ practices.
The company has been barred from bidding on any government contracts with the state of New Jersey for three years. It is also required to make quarterly reports to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice regarding its ongoing compliance with overtime laws.
Criminal charges increase severity of violations
The company and its payroll manager also were charged with making false payment claims under a government contract and misconduct by a corporate official. The allegations by the state assert that the manager put a slip of paper in each of the seven employees’ pay envelopes stating how much money each was required to kick back to the manages. The charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and potential fines of up to $15,000.
Any employee who feels that he or she has been subjected to a violation of the Prevailing Wage Act may wish to discuss the suspected violation with an attorney experienced with labor laws. A knowledgeable lawyer can evaluate the claim, suggest appropriate legal strategies and give an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages in the form of back wages and interest.