Honolulu Electrical Contractor Owes Workers More Than $1.2M in Back Wages

HONOLULU — A federal electrical contractor, Lighting Services Inc. will pay 38 electricians/technicians more than $1.2 million in back wages after U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigators determined the company did not pay required prevailing wages to workers at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay. The division also found the employer submitted falsified payrolls and told workers to provide false information to investigators.

Lighting Services Inc. violated the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act and, as a result, the company and owner Scott Wilks are excluded from obtaining federal contracts for three years.

“Businesses that benefit from federal dollars have a responsibility to play by the rules, and that includes paying employees legally required wages,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Having a federal contract is a privilege, not a right. And we will remain steadfast in our enforcement of laws that level the playing field for those employers who are doing the right thing.”

Investigators found that Lighting Services and Wilks committed multiple egregious violations, including:

  • Instructing employees to misrepresent to investigators the type of work that they did
  • Requiring employees to falsify time records
  • Failing to list numerous workers on certified payroll records
  • Paying rates more than $20/hour below required wage rates

The department’s regional solicitor in San Francisco brought charges against the contractor, seeking payment of back wages and debarment from federal contracts. The department resolved the charges and obtained appropriate remedies through consent findings approved by an administrative law judge last month.

“An employer cannot reduce its labor costs by underpaying workers the required wage standards in a federally funded construction contract,” said Terence Trotter, the division’s district director in Hawaii. “Just as standards of quality must be met on completed electrical work, employers must also adhere to federal standards that safeguard the electricians’ pay and working conditions.”

The DBRA requires that all contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal and certain federally funded construction projects pay their laborers and mechanics at least the prevailing wage rates associated with their occupations, as determined by the secretary of labor. The CWHSSA, which applies to federal service contracts and federally funded and assisted construction contracts exceeding $100,000, requires workers to be paid one and one-half times their basic rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

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