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PJC Files Suit on Behalf of Construction Workers

November 18, 2010: Coinciding with the National Day of Action Against Wage Theft on November 18, the Workplace Justice Project filed suit on behalf of a class of construction workers, alleging that they were misclassified as independent contractors and denied their rights to be fully and timely paid all wages due, including overtime and minimum wage compensation. The suit, Bouthner, et al. v. Cleveland Construction, Inc., et al., will potentially affect hundreds of workers at two large construction sites in Maryland. The suit alleges that the workers were regularly shuffled among employer payrolls and frequently paid as “1099s” (1099 is the IRS Form for Independent Contractors) despite the fact that they were actually employees. Further, workers were forced to perform certain tasks for the employers’ benefit but were not properly, timely or adequately compensated for their work.

This suit is believed to be the first private lawsuit brought pursuant to the Workplace Fraud Act, which renders it illegal to misclassify workers in construction and landscaping services. The PJC helped pass the Act in 2009, and it went into effect on October 1, 2009. Working with the PJC as co-counsel in this matter is Nicholas Woodfield of the Employment Law Group, a Washington, D.C., law firm specializing in employment litigation.

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