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Public Justice Center Files Suit on Behalf of Workers

July 23, 2010: “We want to live humanely.” So says one of ten workers not paid their promised wages or overtime pay during several weeks of work installing drywall, demolishing floors and working on other construction projects. On July 22, the Public Justice Center filed suit in the U.S. District Court on behalf of these workers to recover their unpaid wages. “The PJC’s goal is to hold the general contractors and subcontractors jointly liable for the workers’ unpaid wages and for breach of their employment contracts,” said PJC attorney Andrea Vaughn. The suit will draw on workers’ rights under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, Maryland’s Wage and Hour Law, Maryland’s Wage Payment and Collection Law and the workers’ employment contracts.

Many general contractors attempt to avoid their legal obligations to pay workers correctly by contracting out their labor needs and ignoring illegal payment practices on their worksites. Despite labeling workers as independent contractors for payment purposes, general contractors treat them as employees and direct their work. The PJC works to halt this practice through lawsuits like this one, legislation and public education.

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