Government contractors must pay their workers a fair hourly wage by complying with federal and state prevailing wage laws. Federal law and many state laws require that when performing a government contract, the employer must pay its workers the “prevailing wage.” The Federal laws are often referred to as the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts. The prevailing wage is a specific wage calculated by government entities. If you have information that a government contractor did not pay a fair and prevailing wage, you can report it and potentially earn a large reward.
Important facts about how a government contractor must pay its employees:
- Your employer does not have the right to pay you whatever it wants. The law requires a government contractor to pay the prevailing wage in the geographical area where the work is being performed.
- The Department of Labor determines the prevailing wage - not the government contractor. The government contractor must certify to the government every two weeks that it complies with the federal prevailing wage.
- A government contractor cannot avoid these laws by hiring “subcontractors” to perform the work.
- Every two weeks the contractor must certify that all subcontractors are also in compliance with federal prevailing wage laws.
- Federal prevailing wage law covers not only an hourly wages but also the fringe benefits earned by that employee. A government contractor and its subcontractors must pay the prevailing fringe benefit rate as well as the hourly rate.
- You do not need to be an employee to blow the whistle and potentially collect a reward. You must have personal knowledge of the practice, so human resource employees, spouses, relatives and others can report a prevailing wage violation.
- The reward is determined as a percentage of the total amount recovered and is not based on the loss of pay.
Workers often affected by prevailing wage fraud include non-union electricians, plumbers, laborers, and masons.
The Department of Labor provides helpful information on the requirements to pay prevailing wages. Click here for more information from the Department of Labor.
Contingency Fee: All wage theft and prevailing wage fraud cases require NO FEE unless we are successful in securing you a recovery to compensate you. If we are successful, our fee will be a percentage of your recovery. There is no charge for initial consultations.
Whistleblower Reward: If you blow the whistle on a government contractor that is not paying the required prevailing wages then you may be entitled to a very large award. The size of any whistleblower reward for reporting the fraud or any other fraudulent scheme to cheat the government is determined by the size of the fraud. The whistleblower would receive a portion of the funds recovered by the government based on the allegations of fraud.
Assuming the violations were widespread and the defense or government contractor paid $10,000,000 million to settle the allegations, a whistleblower would be entitled to a reward of between 15% and 25% of that amount, or between $1.5 million and $2.5 million.
In 2016, Mintz & Geftic’s Bryan H. Mintz, along with co-counsel, obtained a $1.5 million settlement against a New Jersey food distributor alleging violations of New Jersey’s Wage & Hour laws. That case involved allegations that truck drivers for the food distributor worked more the forty (40) hours per week with no overtime pay.
New Jersey Prevailing Wage Whistleblower Lawyers & New Jersey Wage Theft Lawyers
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Our New Jersey wage theft lawyers serve clients throughout New Jersey and New York, including the cities of Newark, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Hackensack, and Morris, Bergen, Hudson, Union and Middlesex counties. We have offices in Elizabeth, New Jersey and New York City.
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