Demolition Workers Receive $495,000 In Overtime Settlement

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a settlement with Advanced Contracting Corp., a construction contractor, that requires that it pay restitution of $495,876.70 to demolition laborers who worked on Advanced construction projects and failed to receive mandated overtime compensation.

An investigation by the Attorney General's office found that the laborers in question typically were paid $7.50 for each hour worked, no matter how many hours they worked each week. State and federal law require that these workers be paid time and one-half of their regular hourly wage rate for overtime hours.

"Workers who work long hours must be paid the wages to which they are entitled," Spitzer said. "My office remains committed to aggressively looking at companies that fail to meet their responsibilities for payment of wages."

The Attorney General's investigation began in March 2005 when several demolition laborers complained that they were not paid overtime for work performed on Advanced projects. The laborers were sent to work on those projects by R. Friends Cleaners and Mer Sites, staffing agencies which operate out of the same basement office on Austin Street in Queens.

The Attorney General's investigation revealed that the staffing agencies were set up to supply low wage demolition workers, and that Advanced was their only client. In addition, the investigation revealed that Advanced did not pay the agencies sufficient monies for them to pay the workers the overtime wages to which they were entitled. The investigation revealed that hundreds of individuals worked for Advanced under this arrangement. The settlement provides that Advanced will be liable for any future unpaid wages owed to workers referred to them by any staffing service.

The funds will be distributed to laborers who were not paid overtime wages on Advanced projects between December 21, 1999 and March 22, 2005. Laborers who may be eligible to receive compensation from the settlement should contact the Attorney General's Labor Bureau at 212-416-8700.

The Attorney General's investigation of R. Friends and Mer Sites is continuing.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Devin A. Rice and James W. Versocki of the Labor Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief M. Patricia Smith.

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