Prevailing Wage Rate Claims
When you work for an employer who does certain types of public contracting work, there’s an act called the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act (PWA), which requires that certain minimum hourly rates apply to your work.
In fact, the law requires that every contracting in excess of the prevailing wage contract “threshold” for any public work is covered by the Act. There are certain technical circumstances and definitions that apply, but if you feel that your employer is doing public contracting work and isn’t paying you the “prevailing rate” for that work, contact us.
The public body must specify, by ascertaining from the Commissioner of Labor, the “prevailing wage rate” in the locality in which the public work is performed for each craft or trade needed to perform the contract. The contract has to specify the prevailing rates so there should be no mysteries about what you are due.
Yet, employers try to get around this. They get around it in lots of different ways, sometimes through threats, coercion or intimidation, implying that if you complain, you might not have a job at all. Sometimes they play games with accounting, hours and rates, or even employ workers who they think are vulnerable, such as undocumented workers, whom the employers think will have no choice but to do the work silently.
The Act provides that any employer who discharges or which in any other manner discriminates against any worker because the worker has made a complaint about his employer covered by the Act, or to a public body or commissioner, may institute a private action.
Not only may employees sue directly under the Act for wages due on behalf of themselves and others in a class action, but if workers are retaliated against for speaking up on their own behalf or on behalf of others, that retaliation may also be covered under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) because the Prevailing Wage Act (PWA) is a public law of the State of New Jersey. A “whistleblower” who complains about improper practices under the Act therefore, has protection not only under the PWA, but also under CEPA.
The New Jersey employment civil rights attorneys at Costello & Mains, LLC, know that work is hard, but it shouldn’t be hard to be paid fairly and to be given the respect due when you assert your rights under the Prevailing Wage Law. We can help you obtain the compensatory damages, punitive damages, equitable damages, equitable remedies, back pay and front pay that you are due as a victim of retaliation under the Prevailing Wage Act. We know how to assert PWA class actions under New Jersey Law on behalf of yourself and your brother and sister workers.