NEW YORK — New York City transportation security workers will receive $1.3 million in a settlement reached with AlliedBarton Security Services LLC for violations of New York’s wage-and-hours laws. The security workers raised concerns over AlliedBarton’s failure to pay prevailing wages, which were investigated and led to the current settlement. In the settlement, the city’s comptroller found that AlliedBarton’s violations were not willful, but the company will still pay close to $27,000, in addition to the $1.3 million, in civil penalties for the violations.
Prevailing Wage Story
An investigation instigated by an AlliedBarton employee found inconsistencies in pay for transportation security workers. According to the investigation results, AlliedBarton failed to pay prevailing wages for more than two years, from October 2010 through March 2013, to about 150 security workers. As a result of the failure, the security workers received varying rates of pay, instead of prevailing wages, and lost the benefits associated with prevailing wage requirements.
New York City transportation security workers are included in the city’s public service contracts and are therefore entitled to prevailing wages or living wages. A prevailing wage is the combined total of a base hourly rate and a specified supplemental benefits hourly rate. AlliedBarton claims the problems arose over a difference in interpretation of the prevailing wage requirements. The comptroller’s investigation found that the inconsistency in prevailing wage pay occurred after prevailing wage and benefit rates increased from slightly more than $27 an hour to just over $32.50.
When the comptroller’s office issues a new prevailing wage schedule, the prevailing wage may not change for a specific profession, but when it does, employers are expected to comply with the new schedule. The security guard wage increase was part of prevailing wage schedule from 2009, which provided for the increase in 2012. AlliedBarton did comply with the prevailing wage schedule initially, but failed to comply with the changes over the life of the security guard contracts. The company has since corrected the situation.
Employers typically try to comply with wage requirements, however even the best-intentioned employers can make a mistake, like AlliedBarton. These mistakes can be costly for both the employer and the employee. For this reason, state and federal departments of labor, as well as city comptroller’s offices, provide multiple ways for employees to contact them with concerns. In addition to the various labor departments’ phone numbers, email addresses, and online forms, employees should be able to find contact information on labor posters, which must be posted in a conspicuous location, notifying workers about prevailing wages and other labor laws.
Whether or not you have contacted the department of labor, if you are a public works employee and you believe your employer is not paying prevailing wages, contact our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795 to discuss your rights. Or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form and our knowledgeable legal team will evaluate your case. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.