November 1, 2018

Leominster construction firm cited $837K for wage, labor violations

Photo | State House News Service
Attorney General Maura Healey

The Massachusetts Attorney General's office has fined a Leominster construction company more than $837,000 for violating state labor laws.

According to Attorney General Maura Healey's office, Force Corp. and managers Julia Fernandes, Anderson Dos Santos and Claudio Cicero Da Silva were issued two civil citations for failure to make timely payment of wages and failure to furnish payroll records to state officials.

The investigation began after complaints from the company's workers to the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. The complaints alleged wage violations at two projects in Littleton and Braintree.

When payroll records were turned over to investigators, an extensive practice of taking illegal deductions from wages for tools, safety equipment, discipline, advances and other purposes was uncovered.

According to Healey's office, Force Corp. illegally required employees to purchase their own tools through a company owned by Fernandes. Those tool purchase agreements were poorly drafted and in English, which many of the company's employees did not understand.

Fernandes was cited previously in 2010 as owner of Teles Construction Inc. and Twin Pines Construction Inc., both based in Everett, for wage and hour violations including failure to pay overtime and prevailing wage and failure to maintain accurate records.

In a statement, Healey said Fernandes' new company and its managers cheated their workers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"To build this case, our team documented the use of dozens of illegal tricks used by employers to steal from workers," she said. "This is a textbook example of wage theft in the construction industry, and we will keep working until every worker is made whole."

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